Historical Commission Meeting Minutes 12/07/2021

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Historical Commission minutes for December 7, 2021

Present: Gail Gelburd, Joel Meyers , Diane Provenz, Judi Mabee, Celeste Watman

Guests: Geoff Pigman, Lynne Geane, Stephanie Skinner

called to order at 10:30 am

October 5, 2021 and October 26, 2021 minutes approved with corrections


Saint Paul’s  – Joel said that everything needed for emergency repairs is in the works.

Knox Trail – Diane advised we are waiting for snow to continue filming video. She feels we should spend money for costumes if necessary.  She will contact Chris Keller at Farmington River School to see if he has any we can use. Diane noted there are people from the National Archives in Springfield who are interested in the entire Knox Trail. They are trying to get it on the National Register but were not sure if our small section could get on it by itself. Gail said we received $5,000 from the town to protect the 65 Mile Marker and we should work on this as soon as possible. Diane said she spoke to Paul Holtz to see if any other groups have dealt with this issue. Is it the Towns responsibility?  Gail believes the $5,000 they gave us shows their support.  The Town will have to install it, but we need to have a plan. She will research it.  Joel believes we should get input from the Town.  Some towns have used cameras, Diane will speak to Larry G.

Budget- Gail said we need to clarify our budget before we discuss it.  Diane said we can go over line items in the budget and change some categories.  We might put some items into the budget for next year for any one – time requests.

Five Year Plan – Celeste is working on the plan. She e-mailed the Planning Board and suggested a town wide committee be formed to evaluate and make suggestions for town building uses.

Building Use – Lynne attended a presentation by the MA Circuit Riders where she listened to a Town Planning Consultant. She reached out to the speaker but has not heard back from her yet. Diane believes the speaker is connected to Harvard University.. The purpose is to give townspeople input into what they would like to see done with town owned buildings. Our town has a 5 year plan but per Hal at the Planning Board, it needs to be updated. Diane suggested that if the consultant is too expensive or can’t do it we should look into “We Work”.  Geoff asked if we should present a citizens petition to the town to move the planning process forward. Gail advised it would have to come from the Planning Board and not the Historical Commission. Diane said February is a key date. That is when the Library will find out if they received their grant. At any rate, they will still be moving. Gail reminded us that the Library officially turned over the museum to us.  We can use the top floor but will need to figure out what we will need to do with our items for St Paul’s and the East Otis Schoolhouse. Lynn reminded us we need to see what the town plans to do with the old library building.  Many suggestions about a “living museum”, work stations for researchers, a place to have speakers etc.  Gail will ask Celeste if we can go up there and organize. Celeste said there are old books up there but many may have no historical value. Also, there is a vault in the Town Hall,  can we use it?  Celeste said no. We should make a proposal – plan to get support from the town. Lynne said her contact at the Sandisfield Art Center said they were most surprised at the interest shown for music when they surveyed their population.  Joel said Master plan 2023 would have the East Otis Schoolhouse up and running –we should take advantage of Farmers Market in close proximity.

OPT – Status of grants – Berkshire Bank Grant went in yesterday for $25k. Rebecca Sorrentino is our contact. Per Gail, OHC can’t meet with her but OPT can.  Martin Foundation Grant for $100K over 2 years was sent for St Paul’s.  Facility Grant was not applied for.  We missed he intent to apply date.

Notice Otis Series – next one features a Sculptor

Stephanie said we got a donation of 1920 Celebration booklet from James Fink

Junior Historical Society -website is up and running. Karen Amanti will be working on a logo for it.

Next meeting January 4, 2022 at 11 am

Meeting adjourned 12:45 am