Historical Commission Meeting March 8, 2022
Present: Celeste Watman, Gail Gelburd, Joel Meyers, Diane Provenz, Judi Mabee
Absent: Thomas Ragusa
Guests: Hilary Harley
Called to order at 11:05am
Approved minutes of February 2022 with corrections
St. Paul’s Survey: Discussion regarding Survey Monkey questionnaire. What are our options for naming of St Paul’s building, and for what kinds of activities/functions can this building be used, where should results be returned (OPT/ OHC/Town of Otis?) Should an article be drafted for the Town meeting regarding use of the building with attention to occupancy number. Diane put forth a motion to have Celeste to draft an article regarding usage and it was approved. Second motion to draft and article for the naming of the building was approved. Celeste noted we should be prepared to show results from Survey Monkey at the Town meeting. It was determined that April 26th should be the date set for the return of survey so it’s imperative to send the questionnaire out soon. Gail suggested we link to Library and Celeste offered to work on it and will see if the library will share their list of subscribers. Diane proposed a motion to send Survey Monkey to the townspeople- maybe see if we can use Assessors and Library list within the next 10 days. Vote was passed unanimously. Joel wanted to know if we could keep the select board in the loop. Gail will call Brandi for a meeting to discuss this with her first, rather than take up time at the select board meeting. Diane would like to see the choice of St. Paul’s Place added to the choices on the survey
St Paul’s: Funds needed for expenses involved in transporting chattel was discussed. We don’t have a secure place to store it at this time so we will need to ask for funds to pay for storage facility. Diane advised we are still in discussion with the diocese regarding the chandelier. It is our position that it was originally given to St. Paul’s congregation and should be returned. Gail noted that we have additional expenditures that will be needed for archival materials and ephemeral items. Celeste has been corresponding with an out of state benefactor who has at least 200 boxes of information related to our area. Not all of this directly relates to Otis so perhaps the Berkshire Atheneum might like to look through these papers. Gail believes if we ask for a large sum and don’t use it all then that may make it harder to get funds next year. She advised we ask for a small amount now and then wait to see what we need next year. Celeste believes we need to find a storage unit now since any papers we get will be subject to fluctuating temperatures. Diane believed we should wait till we get the documents. This discussion was tabled for the time being. Anyone who went to pick up chattel should request a check for reimbursement.
Kudos to Gail and Lynn for their work to secure the Massachusetts Historical Commission grant.
East Otis Schoolhouse: Diane said the town voted to approve matching funds up to $75K Motion to ask for approval for $35K was passed. She also advised that 5 years ago the town voted $100K for this building, they did some work and spent $18K. The select board asked if we would take it over and we applied for grants. Motion to see if the town will approve funds to match a grant of $101K and to do other work. Motion was passed.
Discussion regarding a separate account for upkeep of St. Paul’s was tabled until next year
Knox Trail: Tom has a list of tools that the Knox Trail Snowmobile Club needs for upkeep of the trail that amounts to $671. Brandi advised she has an account to cover it. Motion to approve equipment and tools up to 1K for upkeep of the Knox Trail was passed.
Knox Trail Video: Diane sent a link to Shelburn MA video – she will be in touch with Jessica’s friend who is licensed to operate a drone. Jessica advised they have a narrative for Tom to review. They would like to have 4 children in costume and should be able to procure the period clothing from Barrington Stage. They still want to do some still photos around town. Diane is contacting a reenactment group who may participate as well. They have costumes and tents. Hoping to get it set up by end of March. Gail advised we have $500 available from the Otis Cultural Council for the Junior Historical Society.
Knox Trail 65 mile marker needs protection. Gail and Joel suggested a hidden camera. Diane will get it. Gail asked if we could ask Larry to put a fence around it. Joel will speak to Larry.
Diane reminded us that Tom mentioned that there is an area of the trail that is not town owned and is needed for the continuation of the trail. Discussion regarding rejected candidacy of the Knox Trail to be added to the Historical Registry was tabled.
Budget: Discussion of office materials such as acid-free boxes needed Requested $500 for purchase
New signage needed for St. Paul’s for new campaign (approximate cost $300) Should there be a second thermometer. Some visual information should be shown such as “Phase 1 completed” – “Phase 2 – Motion to approve second sign with $283K as our goal was approved. The cost of the sign was approved up to $750. Joel will oversee physical placement.
East Otis Schoolhouse: Joel advised Town lawyer signed off – we are waiting for contractor to sign. Joel will call Steve McAllister to ask him to contact the contractor. Emergency Repairs to St. Paul’s – the contractor will rent the generator. Joel will call Steve to see when work will begin.
Notice Otis Series: Heather’s video is online. “Pop” Petersen’s – hybrid at Town Hall on May 19th at 7pm. We will need a projector. Diverse Otis and OPT will co-host Rockwell Museum National Tour. Gail said reimbursements will go to Gail and not OHC. She can then put it in a separate OHC account. Possible booking of acapella group in the future.
Doodle Project: Celeste – forward names to her. If there is a personal connection then add an additional note,
Survey of land behind St. Paul’s. Diane spoke to the bank. The Sienna’s will be able to donate and receive a write off. Donation can be made now or wait till next year when OPT has it. Gail said Larry G and Larry S advised we should do it now. Property is landlocked and should become part of St. Paul’s. When calculating for ADA and septic etc. we will need that extra land. Gail agreed it would be easier that way. Diane agreed and will pursue it. Survey for land will cost approximately $3K Larry G and Brandi advised that the survey must go through Planning Board, then Town Attorney, then a warrant at the Town Meeting to be approved. Can we put it in an article if there is not enough time for a Warrant? Celeste asked if we could hire the surveyor. OPT could do it. Joel asked if we could do the survey before we have something in writing. Gail asked if the Town would pay for it.
Donation to Preservation Circuit Riders of $250 was sent last year. Can we send one again this year? Motion to donate was approved.
Next meeting- April 5, 2022, 11am
Meeting adjourned 12:28 pm