Historical Commission Meeting Minutes 06/24/2019

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Historical Commission minutes for June 24, 2019

Present: Tom Ragusa, Celeste Watman, Sonia Morrison, Diane Provenz, Lauretta Harris, Judi Mabee

Guest: Lyn O’Brien

Called to order at 10:33 am

Minutes of June 4, 2019 approved.

Fund raising – Loretta created two versions of appeal letter. One to go out to homeowners and one for the newspaper. Diane making some revisions. Quick Print will create the appeal letter, collate them and stuff in envelopes for us. 1600 names approximate. Lauretta felt we should use a list of our accomplishment so far when asking for support but decided to use that letter for the newspaper instead. Discussion on levels of support and how to address each group i.e. highest level of giving to be named “Preservation Founders”?

Knox Trail – Sonia asked Tom to make his wish list for the Knox Trail. Maybe some signage at certain points? We were advised that the town of Hinsdale has interpretive spots along their trail. Tom will check with Berkshire National Research Commission to see if we can get a list of their donors. They may be interested in helping us with the Knox Trail. Tom advised he will need a list of abutters along the trail for his submission for Historic registry

Historic District -Sonia will call Betsy Freiberg to see what’s going on with the historic district.

East Otis Schoolhouse -Sonia told us we would have to pick a time period to demonstrate the history of the Schoolhouse for the National Registry. It was built in 1890’s but some townspeople have items relevant to the 1940’s when they attended school there and the building materials in there now reflect that time as well. Bonnie spoke to a number of people that were enrolled there and also attended classes in Harmony Hall when it was used as a school. Funding: State Register takes a year. Grant applications come up in January and monies are awarded in March. The grants are given out in May. Should we delay at year to get the 50/50 grant or start now with what funds we have and go for matching grants later? Tom said that South Egremont is doing a RFP now so they might be able to help us with ours. We will check with them for verbiage for our RFP.

Vote approved for Sonia to speak to the select board to see if they will release funds so we can begin the bid process.

St. Paul’s Church – still proceeding in court. No estimate of time for completion of Quiet Title as yet. Tom, Celeste and Diane are going to a meeting in Great Barrington for Church Preservation.

Five year plan – Celeste has printed out a form showing the components of a 5 yr plan. We should each take a section and work on how it relates to our Commission.

New Business – Celeste went to a meeting at the Becket Athenaeum on library business and found that the Archivist from the State Agency will come to any Massachusetts Town and digitize the towns record with no fee charged, We invited the Otis Town Clerk, Lyn O’Brien to join the meeting to see if the town would be interested in that service. She was interested but it would depend on how long certain data would be gone. She would have to bring it up to the Selectmen.

The Historical Commission would like to see if we could create a calendar to use for fundraising. We would advertise to the public to send pictures of local sites of interest. Checking with Shutterfly to see if they would give a deal on the price and looking into other options. We need to check to see if we can do this type of fundraising as a Commission. Lyn said if it was approved she would be open to selling them out of her office…

Next meeting July 2, 2019 at 1pm

Adjourned 12:01 pm