Historical Commission Meeting Minutes 06/07/2022

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Otis Historical Commission Minutes

June 7, 2022, 11 AM



The meeting was called to order at 11:06AM


There is a quorum


Approval of minutes from May 11, 2022 (Judi) A motion was made to accept the minutes as read. Unanimous


Those in attendance:  Gail Gelburd,  Diane Provenz , Joel Meyers, Lynne Geane, Geoff Pigman, Patricia Smith,  Celeste Watman and Jessica Provenz.



Budget Update (Gail) There is a little bit of money left. Gail asked if everyone had gotten the money they requested.


Review of Annual Meeting Articles (Diane) The only thing the town voted for was for the East Otis School House.


Preservation ACTIVITIES:

East Otis School Update (Joel) A couple of weeks ago there was a glitch. The crane company wanted more specs. The existing specs suggested that the crane could not take the weight of the schoolhouse. They need to work that out.

We are getting close to the June 30th deadline.  Joel had asked for a 30 day extension. He is doing everything he can to push this along.


He has not heard back from Brandi regarding the survey on East Otis School.


Diane suggested that the commission send a self serving letter to Mr. Holtz.  Joel disagrees. He feels that we should not send anything to Mr. Holtz because he is handling it.

Diane feels that if the crane issue is not resolved within 10 days, a letter should go out.

Gail thought we should get the extension from Mr. Holtz in writing.  Joel asked him but Mr. Holtz said it was not necessary.


St Paul’s Church Update (Joel) Joel will follow up on the exterminator.

Grant – Decision June 8 – TOMORROW at 1PM

Naming Survey (Stephanie) the final name that was picked is the Otis Cultural Center at Historic Saint Paul’s, will be submitted to the select board for their approval. Gail will speak to Brandi about being put on the Select board agenda. Diane is concerned that by using At Historic St. Paul’s, it may inhibit grant possibilities.

Diane made a motion to table the discussion regarding At St. Paul’s. It was not seconded. Joel will discuss this with Paul Holtz and report back to the board.


Fundraising sign (Diane). Thanks to Spenser Noel for installing it.  Diane is not happy with the way the fund raising sign looks.  The rainbow is not really visible.  The Thermometer was very visible and this one is not.  Diane and Gail will revisit the sign and try to come up some alternate ideas.

Request to open up the Church now that emergency work has been completed.

Diane feels that after we gave the town $22,000 for repairs, we should be able to go into the building.

Joel said after the exterminator has been there, we should be able to go into the building and clean.

We would like the fence taken down, the grass mowed.

Joel also suggested that we bring in a cleaning company.

We would like to request an entry date if possible.

We will be making a list to present to Larry Gould and will be setting up a meeting.


Status of survey work for the building (Diane) OPT will be paying for the survey by Patrick McColgan of Taconic Land Surveyors. After the survey, the board will decide how much land we can cut off from our property near the neighbor’s property. The Survey will be drawn up, approved by the neighbor, James Seana, lay it all out, approve it and Jeremiah will have to be involved.

The survey will cost roughly $5,000


Brandi had a number of surveyors to contact for the schoolhouse.  The Town is using a different surveyor that is more expensive than ours but submitted a more detailed estimate.


Archives and Museum Updates (Celeste) 78 rpm records are not worth anything really.

Judi had started compiling a list of founding families.

Celeste was at the Crandall home when things were being cleared out. Two men were tossing things in a dumpster and they suggested Celeste speak with Lynne Pyenson about retrieving them. Donna Thomas said that she would speak to the Crandalls at the appropriate time.


Knox Trail and Video Update (Tom, Jessica)

Jessica Provenz, guest,  is mapping out the video.  She will be speaking with Tom Ragusa, Chris Keller, and Bonnie Parsons.


Jessica is looking for people with various imagery of the Knox Trail. She is looking for photographs and paintings of the Knox Trail. She needs someone to locate these things and

to make sure we are legally able to use them.


Jessica could also use help organizing the shoot and scheduling the re-enactors. Diane offered to help with that and will ask Hilary to help. Diane said the re-enactors come with their own costumes, canons etc.

Diane knows of two people who have still shots of Otis. Diane will be giving us their names.


Jessica would like to reach out to Mary Ames Mitchell who is the 5x-great-granddaughter of Henry Knox. She wrote the children’s sing along book called “Henry’s Big Kaboom in Otis, MA”


Community EVENTS:

Farmers Market, Saturdays


Notice Otis events:

Otis Cultural Council Funding (Gail) $1,000

Heather Bruegel ($125)

Pops Peterson.  May 19 ($250)


Robbins-Zust Marionettes and Hot dog Wagon. July 30 (rain date July 31) ($400) Still not sure about Dawn’s Hot Dog Cart for July 30th.  We will contact the Boy Scouts about them selling hot dogs if Dawn is unable.

Joel suggests that we put up a lot of signage advertising the puppet show.


Library Fair and Charles Flint. July 9th $10 for 1 item and $15 for2 (10am to 3pm) No cost to us.


Fall Notice Otis events (Hilary) Tabled

Quintessential a cappella

Brian Cruey on Naumkeg


NEW Business:


Market Bags (Tricia) polypropylene orange bags.

Otis Central Historic District- signs Celeste will be applying for a Pomeroy Grant for the Otis Historic District Signs. The grant requires very specific criteria.  Celeste doesn’t see any reason why we would not get the grant.


Items not previously anticipated


Next Meeting: July 5, 11AM


A motion was made by Diane to end the meeting and seconded by Joel

Motion passed to end the meeting.


Meeting ended at 12:35




Respectfully submitted,




Donna Thomas