Historical Commission Meeting April 12, 2022
Present: Celeste Watman, Gail Gelburd, Joel Meyers, Diane Provenz, Judi Mabee
Absent: Thomas Ragusa
Guests: Geoff Pigman, Melva Eidelberg, Stephanie Skinner, Patricia Richard
Called to order at 11:00am
Approved minutes of March 8, 2022 with corrections
St. Paul’s Fundraising- Discussion regarding new sign to be installed. Diane would like to make sure it is visible and not impeding any construction. Should it say Phase 2 and should goal be $250K? – met our goal in Phase 1? Geoff suggested a silhouette of church on new sign. Diane will ask Karen A if she would help with this. She would like to see it up before the town meeting. Stephanie suggested we use the photo we are using now. Gail said she can help with this but thinks the new goal may need to be $300K. All members were in agreement. Grant for St. Paul’s went through for continuing preservation. Town had agreed on this and we are waiting for the letter from the Town Attorney. Letter must be sent to Paul Holtz by April 25th. Celeste believes a decision is expected by June 8th,
Library Grant: The Town of Shutesbury was selected for the grant and the winning town must contribute 25% of cost. Celeste felt their estimate was much higher than anticipated and if they cannot proceed then we are still in the running. Otis has to have town approve a special article to agree to contribute 25%. Our estimate was 8 million. Geoff wondered how the library came up with that number. Celeste advised our original plans did not include certain areas of the building and had to be revised. That increased the estimated building costs. Diane proposes writing a letter thanking the library commission for their hard work. Stephanie suggested this be done individually and not as a group.
St. Paul’s Renovation – Joel advised steeple has been removed and decision is being made as to whether it is repairable or if new parts are necessary. Steve McAllister and Larry G are addressing the post beetle issue. Diane had a question about the green mold on the north side of the building. Can it be power washed? Joel said it would be better to do it later since it may not be water tight at the moment.
East Otis Schoolhouse – Joel has been in contact with the contractor. The put a bed in and and dug underneath placed steel beams under the building that will be attached to a crane. Rock was put down to help make it more sturdy. They will then move the building to the left and put it down on wood. Once the new foundation is completed they will move it back. Right now it is not safe to go there. Diane will take some pictures to show progress and send them to Stephanie and Lynn for grant purposes. Also copies will be sent to Celeste for our files.
Knox Trail Diane has been unable to locate our camera. May have to purchase another. She will speak to Larry about placing equipment on the town owned portion to deter vandals and to see what we have to do to place one on State owned section, Diane made a motion to create a sub committee to for the Knox Trail Marker signs – Gail advised we need state permission to put marker signs on State portion.
Otis Historical Commission museum- Celeste said the Marlyn Coffee collection is 95% completed. We are now going through the Otis Library collection by investigating the value of certain books. We have not begun recording the collection itself. All hands are working hard to move it along.
Notice Otis Series – Gail said our projector is working great but microphone is not working and we have no screen. Motion to purchase a screen was passed. Can we use the Town’s microphone? Hilary did the press release for Pop Peterson and added it to the website with zoom link. It should be quite the turn-out. Otis Cultural Council will reimburse OPT for this Pop Peterson
Annual Town Meeting- Diane noted that the Finance and Select board had meetings in February to discuss the articles for the Town Meeting. They addressed: No acceptance of the gift of land behind St Paul’s / No additional 5K for Knox Trail / No $2,500 for moving and transporting items. They did approve $25K matching funds for renovation on structure, and paint for outside and repair of roof for St. Paul’s. Paul’s. Diane said Brandi advised that any special articles should be submitted when we submit our budget. Only 5 out of 12 went through.
Mail-chimp – Stephanie relayed that of the responses to the survey so far, she noted the following: 36% favor the name Otis Cultural Center at St. Paul’s – 33% favor St. Paul’s Place- 70% are in favor uses for private areas. Celeste asked if we can link to the East Otis Neighborhood web page. Stephanie advised it is there already. Can we link to the Reservoir page or Woodlands? Melva advised she will be returning May and will post it on the message board. Will also forward it to Sandisfield newspaper. Diane suggested we discuss at town meeting the need for the survey and responses so far. We can print out a sheet of responses and pass them out at the meeting. St Paul naming and usage and East Otis Schoolhouse are the 3 articles we need to speak about at the meeting. Diane brought up the naming rights for St. Paul’s and it was discussed that there could be naming rights for the meditation garden. We should bring this up with OPT when they own it. Right now it is town owned.
Fundraising- There will be an “Antiques Roadshow” at our booth at the Library Art Fair, Thanks to Charles Flint, and auction for signed doodles from famous people. Should we consider a food truck or tour or local grave sites by an author of a book about gravestones? Could this be an all town get together with a second location near the East Otis Schoolhouse?
Membership – Motion to vote Tricia Smith as an alternate member of the OHC. – passed
Otis Library Museum – Can we hire someone to help with the collection process? Contact universities regarding student intern? Could use possible skills: social medium/administrative /journalism/marketing/technical.
St. Paul’s land survey – Diane has name of surveyor and has spoken to the owners. Should cost up to 3K for the survey and we need it. Motion to take money from OHC to secure their services was passed,
Meeting adjourned 12:30pm