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DPAO seeks funds to re-side its Watertown office building

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The Disabled Persons Action Organization building that houses its corporate offices at 617 Davidson St. needs an exterior makeover.

Some 28-year-old cedar shingles have been replaced while many others are broken or in disrepair. Agency staff and volunteers are looking to spruce up the exterior with new siding. But first, the nonprofit must come up with close to $35,000 for labor and materials, according to DPAO Foundation President Joseph L. Rich. He said that donations are being solicited from select community members, but that all financial help is welcomed and appreciated.

“The siding has to be done; it’s in pretty bad shape,” said Mr. Rich, DPAO founder and former executive director. “We’ve been replacing cedar shingles for some time now. The siding is heaving and breaking, so it needs replacement. I think the building still has some good life to it. We’re trying to keep it going a few more years.”

Mr. Rich said DPAO purchased the building for $25,000 in 1985, and the community rallied to raise $40,000 to $50,000 to renovate the space. It was the original Church of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, built in the 1800s, and was a former home to the North Side Improvement League, according to a DPAO news release.

Before DPAO moved to the Davidson Street location, the nonprofit rented space on the second floor of the Globe Mall and from Jefferson Rehabilitation Center, Mr. Rich said.

The 3,000-square-foot building houses DPAO’s Medicaid service coordinators and administrative staff. Workshops and training sessions also take place there.

DPAO Executive Director Cynthia L. FitzPatrick said the nonprofit replaced the building’s roof last summer.

Mr. Rich said DPAO has been told the structure is sound, so the siding project should be the last big project for some time.

Because of DPAO’s nonprofit status, the agency will have to put the project out to bid once a final estimate is complete. Mr. Rich said he expects to receive that in a week or two.

Some funds already have poured in to support the project, and Mr. Rich said he’d have a calculation of that money by next week.

Proceeds from DPAO’s soon-to-be-announced spring show also will go toward the siding project cost.

In the meantime, people or businesses can contribute by calling the DPAO fundraising department at 782-3577.

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