DANVERS — The Townley Family Children's Barn at Endicott Park, home to Angus and Rosie the pigs, Jake the pony, Greta the horse and any number of chickens and other barnyard animals, is getting a $150,000 facelift. 

But the pandemic has made it harder for the Friends of Endicott Park to raise money for the project.

The Children's Barn restoration is the Friends' latest endeavor. The nonprofit, spearheaded by Bill and Lois McKenzie, has been sprucing up the 165-acre park over the past few years, including the addition of a 750-square-foot Endicott Park Nature Center classroom attached to the Visitor's Center in 2018.

Bill McKenzie said the group is trying to preserve the Children's Barn. 

"The siding and the facade was kind of beat up and rotted over time and it just needed a facelift," he said.

Among other things, the work will include replacement of rotted fascia boards and new door casings. A new custom-built sliding front door is scheduled to be delivered on Thursday, he said. 

The older window casings at the front were in good condition and will get a new coat of paint. 

"We try to save what we can," Bill McKenzie said.

New windows are also being installed around the building.

The McKenzies, who own a contracting company in town, had a crew doing work on the Children's Barn last week. On Monday, a four-person crew was busy installing wood clapboards on the front of the barn.

Dating back to the 1900s, the Children's Barn is only one of three farm buildings left on the complex that was once the gentleman's farm of William C. Endicott, who served as the secretary of war under President Grover Cleveland. The town acquired Endicott Park in 1961.

The barn is home to Endicott Park's pony, horse, cow, goat, two sheep, two pigs, bunnies, geese and chickens. A chicken coop at the back recently got new windows. The project also includes $20,000 in custom-built doors.

McKenzie said it's important to preserve the barn for future generations. Children will be able to see what it was like back when the farm was active, and to see live animals.

"Right now we are just trying to make it a little safer for them and it's going to last for years, now," McKenzie said. The goal is a complete restoration "but funds are the problem."

Money comes from Friends of Endicott Park memberships, but it's not enough to cover the entire project.

"Right now, we are kind of limited on fundraising because of the atmosphere we are in," Bill McKenzie said. "So, we are in limbo."

Lois McKenzie said they tried applying for grants, "but everything's going to COVID," she said. "So, basically, what we are doing here is covered by membership fees, donations and income from the parking that we get, that income from Monday through Friday."

Lois McKenzie said they are looking for a professional painter willing to donate his time, because 90% of the prep work will be done.

Most of the animals are still living in the barn while the work goes on. Larger animals like Jake were out in a paddock on Monday. Monty the goat was also wandering about.

"They are still roaming around in there," Bill McKenzie said. "They love us."

You can learn more about the project by going to friendsofendicottpark.org.


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