August 4, 2015: We are very excited to announce that Brian Barlow and Joanne Dufresne have been appointed as co-chairs of our Capital Completion Campaign! We look forward to working closely with these talented, invested people to bring this capital campaign project to completion, so that our community can enjoy and utilize this wonderful building and our music and theater programming for years to come.

Here is a link to the Worcester Telegram's article about our news.


Great article in the Worcester Telegram today (Friday March 6)! Read here!


We invite you to watch our exciting video!


A note from our Board President:

January 16, 2015

The Town House served as this community’s hub for over 120 years, including 100 years as our town hall. The historical significance of this irreplaceable asset is borne out by its listing within the state and national registers of historic places. The Town House is a cornerstone of our unique and beautiful Grafton Common, which in turn is the focal point of this community and a notable factor in what makes Grafton such a desirable place to live.

To date, a total of $3.7M has been raised for the building’s preservation. Of this total, 56% was generated through non-town sources significantly reducing costs for the town. The balance has largely come from a Community Preservation Act surcharge that sets aside funding for just this type of effort. It is important to note that there have been no tax increases resulting from this project, which is, in fact, a project goal.

$2.5M in raised funds – the amount remaining after paying for the significant improvements already completed – has been earmarked for long overdue fire/life safety and accessibility improvements, as well as to address critical building system updates. Unfortunately, increased demand for construction services has driven costs up and additional funding now appears necessary.

The shortfall is anticipated to be approximately $1M based on past bidding of the project. A surplus of $838K from the high school building project is available and can only be spent on a long-term bondable project. The Grafton Town House Oversight Committee and Town Administrator recommended at a recent BOS meeting that these funds be applied to the Town House. Should additional funding prove necessary, the Town Administrator has advised sufficient resources exist to cover the balance. These funding solutions would not require an increase in taxes.

The Town House is a shovel-ready project that represents a pressing issue for Grafton. The need for these updates was first identified by the Board of Selectmen over 30 years ago. In addition, the State has asserted its right to schedule a fine hearing and reissue a closure notice if the project doesn’t move forward by July 1st. Fines can be as high as $1,000 per day for each accessibility violation and the Town House has many such violations.

I encourage Grafton taxpayers to learn the facts about this most worthwhile project and to attend the upcoming special town meeting.

Paul A. Scarlett, Apple Tree Arts Board President


Below is an article from The Blackstone Valley Tribune, on Sept 4, 1985:
A link to the pdf file can be found at the bottom of the page.


A note from our Executive Director

January 16, 2014

At two town meetings last spring, the citizens of Grafton overwhelmingly voted their support for the Town House Preservation Project. These votes were an acknowledgement of the significant improvements already achieved and a testament to the impetus this project will have for economic growth within our community.

What has changed: The construction costs have increased. Nothing has changed since those votes were cast with the sole exception that construction costs have increased.

Lease obligations are being met. Under the terms of our lease negotiated with the town of Grafton, Apple Tree Arts is obligated to generate $33,333 per year in funding for the preservation of the Town House and to pay our proportionate share (~50%) of the building’s common maintenance expenses. In contrast, lease revenue generated by all other tenants combined amounts to $28,000 annually. Additionally, funds raised by ATA for improvements to our leased space do not count toward satisfaction of this financial obligation.

ATA fundraising has generated nearly $1M in outside of town funding, none of which has been allocated toward improvements to our leased space.

Apple Tree Arts applauds the efforts of the Grafton Town House Oversight Committee, Town Administrator and other town officials in seeking out additional funding sources that will allow this project to move forward within the tight time constraints stipulated by the State. Apple Tree Arts remains passionately committed to fundraising to the completion of this project and we are all extremely grateful to the residents of Grafton, and our students and families for their support

Apple Tree Arts' current focus is on strategic planning and fundraising. We are so excited about future opportunities to bring theater and music to people of all ages.

Donna Blanchard
Executive Director, Apple Tree Arts

Grafton Town House 1912

JANUARY 20, 2015 --  Please click on links below for pertinent information on project fundraising, construction costs and our lease agreement with the Town.


Grafton Town House 1887
Grafton Town House 1887