Revamp for Martinborough courthouse

By Hayley Gastmeier hayley.gastmeier@age.co.nz -
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The former courthouse in Martinborough is to be the Menz Shed base in the town. FILE/PHOTO
The former courthouse in Martinborough is to be the Menz Shed base in the town. FILE/PHOTO

Martinborough Menz Shed is planning to bring the town's old courthouse back to life this summer.

The building, which also once served as the borough council chambers, will eventually be home to the Menz Shed, which launched in June last year.

Six months on and with 70 members, Martinborough Menz Shed chairman Ric Geisler says they are almost ready to start refurbishing the historic building.

"We hope to get going on the outside this summer and draw up plans for how to refurbish the inside later when the weather is not so good."

Mr Geisler said "10 to 20 regulars" were attending the weekly Wednesday and Sunday morning sessions at the group's temporary location, a storage shed behind the Martinborough iSite.

However, with the large project, he suspected more members would jump onboard and attend on a regular basis.

"This summer we hope to do a bit of work on the outside and around the grounds, and there's a bit of work to do on the roof."

Mr Geisler said they were yet to come up with a plan of attack for the interior works but a members-only barbecue this Sunday would hopefully get them a step closer.

"It is a good time to get a good look through the old courthouse in its raw state and throw in some ideas on how to proceed," he added. "Members will have the chance to give the committee ideas about what we should be doing inside."

Mr Geisler said it would also be an opportunity to gain insight into what talents the membership had and what aspects of the project they could be involved in.

He said it was important they got the plans right and carried them out carefully -- respecting the building's original character.

"We want to get it back to its original features ... we believe it's important for us to preserve the features of the building inside and out."

Interior works included the electronics and removing the suspended tile ceiling, which "was probably added in the 1980s".

Although the temporary shed had "fairly small facilities", it was not keeping the men from helping out the community.

Various people had stopped by the shed for repairs, such as Martinborough Playcentre, which had a number of broken toys needing fixing.

"We have made our own work tables with donations from JNL and Mitre 10. We've done lots of little things keeping the guys who are keen busy," Mr Geisler said.

Shed members had also sharpened tools for Martinborough residents and fixed the electronics in a tennis ball launcher.

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