Historical Commission Minutes for September 14, 2021
Present: Diane Provenz, Judi Mabee, Sonia Morrison, Gail Gelburd, Celeste Watman
Absent: Tom Ragusa
Guests- Lynne Geane, Melva Eidelberg
Meeting open 10:30 am
Junior Historical Society – Diane asked Judi to email a quick paragraph to her regarding our need for help building a website. She will send it to the Otis Observer for inclusion in the October issue. We should also speak to Justin and Sonia’s contact as soon as possible. We hope to have the interview with Tom Ragusa for the website.
Minutes of the August Historical Commission meeting were accepted
Knox Trail Video – Jessica sent 19 pages of the script – she is asking for images that can be used for props – paintings, prints, maps etc. Lynne said they may have items in storage that can be used, and Chris Keller should have some prints and costumes. Should there be something saying we are asking to have a Historical Designation? Sonia requested that we make sure the 65-mile marker is in the film. The town gave us $5K to do something for the trail- she is trying to get an architect to create something to protect the marker. Diane said the Otis Cultural Council grant of $2500 must be spent by the end of the year. We will pay Josh $5K and asked for partial invoices for our $2,500 portion.
East Otis Schoolhouse. Sonia advised work is out for bids and 23 companies have asked for bid documents. She will ask Steve McAllister to review the list to make sure it covers the ones we are most interested in. We need paint chip analysis. Diane is working on surveyors but will be couple of months. We need to schedule site visit – it is mandatory to bid. Gail advised she spoke to Paul Holtz re: “in kind” work. MA Historical grants give up to 3 years to complete but will not accept “in Kind” as matching funds. Sonia advised we need 20K for painting and survey and these will be matching funds.
OPT Report – Diane advised we have received $98K from the Fitzpatrick Grant and $128k In donations. She also said all the mailings have gone out and we are up to date on Thank You notes.
St Paul’s and the East Otis schoolhouse – both buildings show damage from post beetles – she told us that there is a church in Becket (Not owned by the town) that has the same problem. In that case the Town of Becket has paid to repair the damage. We should go to the select-board for help. Sonia agreed, she said unforeseen conditions such as that, add to the expenses. We should ask for an additional 30K from the town. The town has a responsibility to repair town property. We would also be fundraising. Diane said she sent an email to Brandi advising there was no sign of beetle infestation or mold last year but now it has shown up – probably not major but will worsen with time. Sonia said we are not trying to do things on our own with town- owned property – we are just doing what our commission was created to do. Diane suggested we write a letter and send it to Brandi regarding the physical problems. Sonia said she will bring it up at the select-board meeting, The architect said we need to have this addressed, Gail suggested fans will get rid of mold- it has not been done yet. There was a discussion regarding the need for an exterminator – the town is in control of the building, and we should urge them to do it as quickly as possible. It should be addressed before the 23rd so we will have the info for the engineer.
St Paul’s – Lift came out last week – need to get estimate of costs – OPT is paying but must get licensed and Insured operator and will need an additional $650 to install 2 ladders. Larry asked to leave equipment there, but we declined due to cost. Steve McAllister did the preliminary walk through, along with Diane, Geoff and Sonia. Diane said its clean in there, but we should ask the town to remove all cushions since they are old and musty, Unable to view balcony since the stairs are not up to code or ADA compliant.
Grant updates- Lynne said we need to review, and she plans to meet next week with Gail. OPT is applying for Knox trail $500 and Junior Historical $500. Gail expects 5 events for the Notice Otis Series (Oct 15th is deadline to apply). Hillary is leaving as liaison, but Diane said she will speak to her about it. Melva wants to put the event listings in the Woodlands publication. The events in place for Notice Otis Series now are 10/28 Ghosts of the Berkshires – 12/9 Artists – 2/10 Native Women Presentation, Melva suggested that the new Woodland committee may be able to donate to the Notice Otis Series.
Harmony Hall – Has not been maintained by the town. It has water problems too. We should present its importance to the town and its historical significance. Can a letter in support signed by OPT and OHC be given Larry S for tonight’s Select-board meeting?
Library Fair and Antique Roadshow – cancelled – maybe will be able to have it in the spring.
New Business- Working on grant and transfer of museum contents to OHC. Can we accept it? It may be 3 years before it has to be vacated. Celeste will write a letter accepting the museum. We will take stewardship of it at time mutually agreed upon. Motion to accept was voted and approved
Next meeting Tues October 5th at 10:30 am
Meeting adjourned 12:00 pm