Historical Commission Meeting Minutes 09/01/2020

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Historical Commission minutes for September 1, 2020 – Zoom meeting

Present: Sonia Morrison, Diane Provenz, Celeste Watman, Judi Mabee, Tom Ragusa,  Gail Gelburd

Guest: Geoff Pigman , Joanne Melia, Ellen Beck, Heather Morgan

Called to order at 10:00 am

Minutes of August 3, 2020 accepted

Knox Trail: Jessica will meet with Tom before next meeting. She should be able to give us a tentative plan for videography. Sonia has a couple in mind who may be able to help Jessica. Sonia advised that the Western Massachusetts Hiking Group has put the GIS points on the map of the trail that we can use on our Historical Registry application. Tom has to match the “Billarucka” format from the State for the Sandisfield portion. Larry will put the GIS points in for that application. Tom has done the corrections to it. Bonnie and Tom will meeting with the state since we added a few additions.

East Otis Schoolhouse: Sonia is meeting with Steve McAllister of Clark and Green – we need final information by October. She and Tom are measuring the property and will contact Patricia at the Rec Center for information regarding setbacks and other regulations for a playground. Leigha Chaffee is helping with fundraising for this project. We have some period desks now but would like to try to reach out to the community to see if we can acquire more.

Saint Paul’s: Gail is moving forward on attaining grants for this project. She and Celeste have looked over the internal an external pictures provided to us by Thom Garvey and we are hoping we can get help moving chattel from Boston to Otis. We should be getting the chandelier and possibly a bible that were in place in the church when it closed. Negotiations are ongoing for the organ but there is also an 1800 reproduction of a circa 1600 organ that may be a possibility. Will need to add money to our budget to cover archival supplies and transportation expenses. Sonia will try to obtain estimate to on cost to move the organ. It must be dis-assembled, packed, moved and re-assembled and put into storage. We will need a professional to do this. OPT will be charged with obtaining matching funds grant for this process. Sonia advised that the diocese said they have put $5K into the organ and that may have included the move from Otis to Springfield. Celeste advised she has forwarded to Lynne at OPT some info on charitable grants from Lowe’s “Charitable Education Foundation” that might include building renovations. She has also re-subscribed to the “Foundation Directory” for additional investigation. There is also the “Amelia Peabody Charitable Fund” that covers capital expenditures having a lasting effect on a community. We should begin to discuss what kind of educational programs could be on-going at St Paul’s. Diane suggested we look at the Sandisfield Art Center website and West Stockbridge site to see what they are doing in this regard. There are also two former churches in Adams that have begun a training program/music school. We can check with music teacher at Farmington River Regional School to see if there might be a program they might be interested in providing there.

Grants: We are applying for matching grants with MA Historical in 2021 for the Schoolhouse. Can we get an estimate from Steve McAllister for the church work? Can we get a Planning Grant for the church? There is also the MA Cultural Council Grant. Tom was not sure if we should apply for both. There is also a “Peabody Grant” to be used for structural work (roof, floor etc. Diane believed it best to start with the church first. Gail said we fit well as long as we have a clearly defined vision of what we want to do. Gail, Lynn and Celeste will meet to start planning the outline for the Peabody grant and Diane suggested they also look at MA Cultural Council grant info from last year to see what we need for this year. There is MA Historical Grant for the Schoolhouse, and a Planning Grant as well. Tom told us that next year there is a Battlefield Grant through DCR applications due in September that would be a good fit for the Sandisfield monument and trail markers. Perhaps an opportunity for the Knox Trail itself.

Budget Planning: Sonia reached out to Bonnie regarding billing for Knox Trail, Historic District and Eat Otis Schoolhouse. We would also like a walk-through of East Otis for possible Historic District there as well. Need to know what it might cost to move forward with that as well. Diane advised that anything we are requesting in our budget for St. Paul’s will need to voted on next year at the town meeting. We need to add line item for Records, Research, Application fees and Signage, We have funds available to finish the video and pay Bonnie. – Our commitments to date are St. Paul’s, Knox Trail, East Otis Schoolhouse, and the Otis Historical District.

New Business: Diane is contacting Tony to add stripe to the thermometer showing how much we have received in donations so far. For example, once we get to $150K we are eligible for $150K matching funds. $500K would cover all of our projects. Hope we can get a group photo when we add the stripe. Diane also thanked Bradley for the word puzzle he sent to the Observer. We are hoping to interest children in town to enjoy our town history. Tom and Celeste are still pouring over the papers that were donated by the family of Marlyn Coffee. They will meet again on September 10th to do more research. Diane would like to see if we can weed-wack inside the fencing at St. Paul’s. Hoping we might just sign a waiver to get it done. She will send a request to the Town Attorney.

Next meeting Tuesday October 6, 2020 Zoom

Meeting adjourned 11:23am