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COVID-19 having an impact on Lincoln Community Hall funding

The historic Lincoln Community Hall normally plays host to several events throughout the year, but this year COVID-19 has changed that.

Large community events generate important rental income for the Community Hall, and like other local businesses, it has felt some of the financial impact since the virus began.

A local group of quilters meet there each Thursday, to not only work on their own projects, but to work on a community quilt that's normally raffled off at the annual Lincoln Valley Chamber of Commerce Community Benefit to help raise funds for the Hall. The Red Cross also utilizes the Hall for their blood drives every other month. However, most other events that normally take place in the Hall, including the annual Fireman's Ball, Ducks Unlimited Banquet, Lincoln Heritage Days and the Benefit have all been cancelled, postponed or have moved to virtual events online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Each year, the Community Hall holds their annual membership drive. Funds from this revenue-generating endeavor help to cover the cost of supplies such as toilet paper, paper towels and trash bags, and also aids in the cost of electricity, sewer and propane. The rental fees for the Hall help cover the cost of maintenance and improvements to the building.

Ernie and Renee Lundberg are the current "caretakers" of the hall, but they are the first to tell everyone: "The Hall belongs to the people and the town of Lincoln. It's a true community building."

"People have truly cared for the building, and it shows. The floors are maple and over 100-years old, and the log structure itself is in very good shape, but there is always work that needs to be done on an older building such as this." Ernie said.

Some of the most recent renovations to the building include the refinishing of the wood floors, leveling the area behind the building, repairs and construction to the back porch and shed, as well as renovations and remodeling of the large kitchen area. The Lundbergs said they're lucky to have the volunteer support they do, when it comes to clean-up and maintenance days at the building.

Due to the pandemic, the Lundbergs said some projects that were planned for this year, including their annual clean-up day and painting the exterior of the building have been put on hold or postponed until next year.

In the short-term, the effects of the loss of income for the Hall don't seem to be all that great. With less use of the building, it makes sense that fewer repairs and maintenance follow suit. The long-term effects, however, could cause more of an impact to the budget as propane and electricity costs for winter are generally pretty high, even without use of the building.

The Lundbergs said that is where the Hall is going to miss some of that income.

Donations are always appreciated and can be made by check, payable to The Lincoln Community Hall, and mailed to P.O. Box 566, Lincoln, Mont. 59639. Additionally, volunteers are always welcome.Those who are interested can contact Ernie or Renee at 406-362-4072.


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