Historical Commission Meeting May 11, 2022
Present: Celeste Watman, Gail Gelburd, Joel Meyers, Diane Provenz, Judi Mabee
Absent: Thomas Ragusa
Guests: Geoff Pigman, Lynn Geane
Called to order at 11:04 am
Approved minutes of April 12, 2022 with corrections
Diane advised that Donna Thomas has agreed to take minutes of our meetings beginning in June. Judi will be stepping down as a member of Otis Historical Commission at that time. Trisha Smith has agreed to be an alternate member but Celeste will speak to her about joining as a full member.
MA Historical – Diane shared the good news that the Otis Historical District will be placed on the National Registry of Historic Places. She called Hal Kobrin to let him know. St. Paul’s Church, Otis Library and Harmony Hall are included in the district. Coordinates should be given for exact measurements of the area. Gail advised that in the packet we were given were postcards to for distribution showing the places within the district. Diane would like more signs to post in the district. Gail said we will need approval. Diane will speak to Karen A regarding designs.
East Otis Schoolhouse – Joel updated work on the schoolhouse – We are waiting for the contractor to narrow down the timeline for the crane operator to move the building. He advised that we have a deadline of June 30. We are working with the Town Attorney to finish paperwork for grant.
St. Paul’s – Per Diane the estimate for survey work is approximately $5,000. She will reach out to Patrick McColgan from Taconic Land Construction for another quote. A second survey for land being donated will need to be done for the bank to estimate its worth. Celeste asked if the Town should pay for it. Lynne said at the select-board meeting Brandi said they would pay for the survey for East Otis schoolhouse project and Gail thought the number mentioned was $2-$3K. Diane believes we need to send packets to both surveyors for St. Paul’s Gail advised we should not ask anything about the Schoolhouse since it is a town decision – we have no authority. Joel spoke to Steve and is pushing to get an exterminator. He suggested that while there do not appear to be active beetles, there is a need to get it exterminator before working in that area. Diane believes it would only cost a few hundred dollars to do it. Geoff noted a good exterminator he knows will be coming to town a week from Friday and he could speak to him. Diane said she will speak to Brandi about getting it done right away. Joel advised we can only do so much till we get the grant. After that, we will have more pull. Diane made motion that Joel be our contact person for communication with the Town. Motion was passed. Emergency repairs are being done – the air quality is not good and we are not sure if there are active bats in there. Geoff knows and recommends Williams in East Lee to do bat extermination. Diane asked if we can remove the fence around the church but Joel advised we cannot.
East Otis Schoolhouse – Joel asked Paul Holtz if everything was sent in for the grant. Brandi was looking it over and found the Statement of Preservation form may not have been sent. We need certification, survey, boundary and deed. We don’t have these. The select board approved having the town pay for the survey of boundary lines and deed done. We cannot send Statement of Preservation without this, so no money from state can be received to pay the contractor.
Town meeting (Article 13) – $25,858 requested. Extra $10K was not pushed, Brandi advise wait for Special Town meeting in the fall. Gail will speak at our Town meeting in May.
Mail chimp Survey – Name for St. Paul’s Diane suggested we ask for a vote at the town meeting but Lynne would like more input before that happens. Agreed to a handout with options to be given at the meeting with the hope of starting more conversation about it.
Knox Trail Video – Jessica advised that Carson came out last week and rescued the drone from the river. Luckily the information was salvageable. We have a script and outline but want to wait till winter for full effect. Gail note it should have been done last winter. We still need rein-actors there and at the same time as the kids he has lined up. Diane said Josh is still working on it. We could lose grant if its not done by December 30th but still have time. Gail noted that weather is not predictable and perhaps they can get it done sooner and superimpose snow footage. Diane will pass info along to Jessica and Josh,
Friday group – Celeste advised meeting has been temporarily relocated to the 2nd floor library. Group is going through titles to see what can be retained and used in the East Otis Schoolhouse and what can be sold. 78 RPM recordings are also being checked for value. Gail spoke to Diane Dyer regarding an old teachers desk she would like to donate for the schoolhouse.
St. Paul’s – Tony will replace old sign with new one showing the 3 phases. Diane will ask Bonny to write a Historical viewpoint of having the chandelier and organ back in the church to send to the Diocese. We need publicity if they refuse. Joel advised we need to have the interior of church cleaned before we can bring them in. Geoff advised the seat cushions need to be disposed of if they have not been tossed already.
Budget- $11K approval for OHC is included in the Town Budget.
Knox Trail – Need update from Tom -We have approved funds for loos to clean up the trail. Discussion of buying bypass lot on the trail. Celeste said MA Historical did not approve the Knox Trail, saying it did not meet their criteria but did not list what the criteria was or what we need to do to qualify. Diane said that she understands that their was not enough contiguous trail. Celeste would like to see that in writing. Joel said he was advised of someone who is very interested in working on the trail and would be available in August to help. Can we mark it better? Signs or ribbons to mark the way?
OPT – Pops Peterson’s May 19th at 8 pm Town Hall and via Zoom. Sign up on OPT/Notice Otis Series. Larry Gould will help us set it up.
New Items – The Grossmans generously donated $10k to East Otis Schoolhouse fund from Brokerage account.
Stephen Hofer offered possible loan or gift of painting by Wallace Noel. Gail advised we should not take items on loan. Paperwork is complicated and then there are issues with insurance, storage etc. Diane will set up a meeting. Can we ask realtors to advise homeowners of our desire for local historical information they might have in their possession,
Next meeting June 7, 2022 at 11 am
Meeting adjourned 12:35 pm