When Tim Merrick bought a box of vintage tools at Significant Elements, he knew he’d stumbled across a find. One item in particular–a vintage carpenter’s molding plane, or block plane—has seen almost constant use. The renovation and restoration specialist has been using the simple carpenter’s tool to hand-fashion moldings for the windows and doors at Stewart Park’s Picnic, or Large, Pavilion.
Hired by the Friends of Stewart Park to restore the arched entrance doors with their multi-paned windows, Tim Merrick Construction has been painstakingly replacing windowpanes and repairing and crafting new woodwork based on the original designs for the past two years.
Tim has been operating his construction company for 28 of the 30 years that he’s lived in Ithaca, and his crew specializes in renovation and restoration work, including the type of custom woodwork and window repair he’s doing at the Stewart Park pavilion.
The firm’s experience working on historic properties earned the full confidence of Friends of Stewart Park Executive Director Rick Manning. “Tim understands restoration methods and standards inside out, but more importantly brings a level of care and artistry to his work that exceeds typical contractor expectations,” explains Rick. “These 1890s historic buildings are precious and vulnerable–we feel totally confident in his ability and judgment to bring them back to their former grandeur.”
Tim and his crew will continue to spruce up other parts of Stewart Park as well. They crafted a handicapped-accessible ride for the park’s carousel as part of the Friends’ overhaul of the playground. Not yet painted, the accessible carousel ride will likely be ready for summer enjoyment. Tim will soon undertake restoration of the windows on the boathouse’s south side for the City of Ithaca.
A Significant Elements regular, Tim comes into the store every few weeks or so to source salvaged parts for his construction jobs and to donate household items such as sinks that he’s rescued from renovations. “It’s the best place in town for salvaged parts,” Tim agrees, pointing out how well ordered and clean the store is. (In fact, Historic Ithaca volunteer Suzanne Onodera, Tim’s wife, has ably assisted with recent upgrades to the store.)
SE store manager—and Friends of Stewart Park board member—Sara Johnson has helped Tim source doorknobs for the Stewart Park pavilion doors that match the look of the originals. As a source for tools and parts, and as an advocate for keeping Stewart Park’s historic buildings a vital component of the park’s future, Historic Ithaca is proud to play a role in making this community treasure shine.