2019 HPC Meeting Minutes – September

Historic Preservation Commission

September 16, 2019


Members Present: Alice Schoonmaker, Alice Cross, Elaine Laflamme, Wilton Duckworth, Franz Dannecker, Jens Verheagh

Other attendees: Town Supervisor Mike Baden (discussing Alligerville Firehouse Project), Joan Ewing

Call to Order: Wilton D. called the meeting to order at 2:03 pm.

Minutes: The minutes from the August 19th meeting were reviewed. Wilton D. moved to accept the Minutes and Franz D. seconded. Minutes approved.

Update on Alligerville Firehouse: Wilton D. wanted to make drawings and take pictures of the Alligerville Firehouse before renovations started in order to document historic features of the structure. Timing was discussed as people are busy with the harvest at this time. The Town Supervisor joined the meeting at this point to discuss the timing of the renovations to the Firehouse. He noted that the Planning Board gave the project conditional approval. At present, the Town is acquiring from the County the land in front of the Firehouse. A discussion on the origins and background of the County land ensued. Once acquired, the land will be transferred to the Fire District. The project will go back before the Planning Board for final approval. The Town working with the State will put the project out to bid. The selected contractors will then have to apply for permits. It’s anticipated that actual construction will commence in the spring.

The plan is to restore the old schoolhouse portion of the Firehouse as close to its original style as possible, e.g., remove the dropped ceiling, replace windows with the same style of window. The renovations have been approved by the State Historic Preservation Office.

Parking at the remodeled Firehouse was revisited. The Town has reached agreement with the Rondout-Esopus Land Conservancy to use its property for parking during construction. The shoulders on Creek Road can also be used.

Alice C. asked about the belfry. Mike B. reported that Sam Dillehay said they would copy the belfry as best they could. Wilton D. will document the belfry too. Sam Dillehay is the best contact for the project. Rick Alfrande is the owner of the architectural firm and is good with historic elements.

Application to Designate Accord Historical District: Alice S. confirmed that the Accord Firehouse has been reserved for the public informational meeting on November 6th. The Firehouse is a back up to the Commission’s first choice, the new Community Center. Alice C. spoke with the Town Supervisor about the availability of the Community Center for the public informational meeting and we should know for certain in a few days. Alice S. asked about the Laundromat which was seized for back taxes. It did not sell at auction. The County did some testing this past spring. Mike B. will follow up with the County to find out the results.

A discussion of historic signs from the Feed Mill ensued. They were placed with an antique dealer in Stone Ridge. Perhaps HPC can document the signs? Mike B. left the meeting at this point.

The invitations to the public informational meeting need to be mailed before the next HPC meeting. Wilton D. passed around a black and white photo of Main Street to be used on the invitation. It was decided that a panorama would work better with the space allocated to the picture on the invitation. Elaine L. will try to get a good picture and will pass it around for approval. Elaine L. also agreed to print the mailing labels for the invitation and to finalize the invitation. A draft of the invitation to the public informational meeting was approved. The Town will print the required number of copies once the meeting place is confirmed. The HPC’s invitation will be mailed immediately after the State mails out its notice.

New Members: Wilton D. reported on his outreach to two potential new Members for HPC. We are hoping that one or both will join us at the next meeting or at the public informational meeting.

Wilton D. is very interested in the stories behind the historic buildings and sites. Discussion ensued about how to capture these stories. He would like to offer more stories about historic buildings, not lectures but people telling stories. The role of The Friends of Historic Rochester was discussed and its efforts in preserving cultural aspects of the Town’s past. Alice C. mentioned the many stories about past people, farms and businesses appearing in The Accordian, the newsletter of The Friends of Historic Rochester. The Accordian has been published four times a year for 30 years. Alice S. mentioned Heritage Day at The Friends of Historic Rochester coming up on October 5th. She reported that Friends had videos about various historic buildings that were played at the Museum on Heritage Day. Wilton D. would like to develop more of the stories behind some of the historic buildings. He was moved by the work on the Palentown Schoolhouse, work done by the community members who deeply cared about the schoolhouse. Wilton D. remarked that if the people see the value of the stories behind the historic buildings, they’ll have more passion about the buildings.

Digitizing the list of Historic Buildings: Alice C. found a digital copy of the Historic Resources Reconnaissance Survey of 2008 and forwarded it to Jens V. who put it into an excel spreadsheet searchable by among other things SBL number. This will make it easier for the Planning Board and Code Enforcement Department to identify historic buildings. Jens V. can give the Planning Board and the Code Enforcement Department copies of the Historic Survey organized by SBL number either in electronic format or hard copy.

Adjourn: Alice S. moved to adjourn the meeting at 3:30 pm. Alice C. seconded.

Next meeting – October 21st at 2:00 pm.