Historical Commission Meeting Minutes 07/27/2021

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Historical Commission minutes for July 27, 2021

Present: Sonia Morrison, Gail Gelburd, Judi Mabee , Diane Provenz

Absent: Thomas Ragusa, Celeste Watman

Guests: Melva Eidelberg

Called to order at 10:06 am

June Minutes approved with corrections

Knox Trail Video – No update at this time

Knox Trail – Tom will be giving a talk about rediscovering the Knox Trail on Saturday August 14th at the Bidwell House.  Sonia is researching how best to protect the 65 mile marker. She believes we may need an architect to design it. She will see if Steve McAllister is interested. He might want to go on a hike with Tom to get a better idea of what we need. We have $5,000 from the town that we can use for it.

East Otis Schoolhouse – US Park Dept. has a grant for another $50,000 coming up in November that may be applicable for the schoolhouse and St Paul’s too. We are short $30,000 on the schoolhouse and have a lot of things we still need to do.  Lynne and Karen have spoken to a new foundation. We have been advised by a towns-person that her employer offers donations at will to charities. We will look into this.  Discussion about paint colors for the schoolhouse.  Per Bonnie, there are tests that can be done to determine the original paint on the building in 1949.  Architectural study may be needed to determine if foundation stones were moved or if new ones were brought in.

Budget- to be discussed at next meeting

St. Paul’s – Town has asked for a proposal based on RFD. Steve McAllister feels its likely we will not be removing the belfry. It will be a few weeks before we can have a contract. Gail spoke to Tammy regarding the Fitzpatrick grant. We will not get it till the end of August or maybe September.  We can try to spend some in this year on drawings/plans but they are flexible.  We can spend $25K on architect with remainder acting as matching funds with MA Historical. We need design for handicap parking and natural ramp. Per Steve that will need to be a separate contract.  Gail asked if grant is used for structural issues can we get the CFO to go inside to work if not open to the public? Can we go over the timeline with him. We need to be clear about it since we made an agreement with the Fitzpatrick foundation. Sonia advised Phase 1A is structural and roof and architect to get CFO  – Phase 1B is site work for ADA compliance.  The rest is cosmetic.  Windows are good and there may be grants from Sacred places to replace them later.  Painting of exterior comes under Phase 1. Diane suggested we check the West Stockbridge Historical Society Website. They spell out their phases and plans.  Gail spoke to Tammy regarding when and how we want to announce it. We can discuss press release at August 5th meeting and send to Lyn O’Brien. Diane will work with Gail on it.   Sonia will look at MA Historical for Hill-towns and MA Cultural Council for funding for various uses ie: the schoolhouse as a children’s museum and St Paul’s as an Art Center.  Diane made a motion the press release be sent to all member to review before being sent out. Motion passed.

Budget update: Diane said per spreadsheet, we have more donations.  Now showing $97,000 including stock donations.  Closed book on year. 

Junior Historical Group- there is an annual grant from The Taconic Foundations for the school that has never been applied for.  Sonia will speak to Mr. Keller to see why. Melva said there is a donor committee from the Woodlands that has given the school money in the past. Can we reach out to the PTA or school board? Sonia advised they have a business manager and she would reach out to him. Gail asked about Diversity meeting. She spoke to Jean from the Cultural Council- they disburse money from AAA Cultural Council to the town. She encouraged Notice Otis Series. Judi said kids need a recorder for interviews. Discussed photography – could Cindy and Gail be guest photographers? Gail suggested checking with BCC or Westfield State University to see if they could help us with interns? Gail will reach out to the Native Woman Presentation. She is presenting an exhibition about diversity at our library beginning August 13th, and a number of other exhibits in Hudson NY and one at the Otis Becket Open Studios. Our Notice Otis series will be on hold till mid September.

Community Day – has been canceled. Hoping we can do a roadshow at the library Fair or maybe try it next spring.  The library is up for a grant now for hill-towns.

New Business – We are shy on schoolhouse.  Need $20K for $20K matching grant. Can we get some from town free cash? Would it need to be voted by the town for use on the schoolhouse?  We should try to set up consistent times for our meetings

Next meeting August 24th at 10:30 am.  Following meeting September 14th at 10:30am Meeting adjourned 11:25 am