Meeting House – Preserve & Revitalize Project – SPECIAL MEETING-NOTES
Date: TUESDAY, JAN 24,2023
Time: 3:30 PM In person at Town Office or via ZOOM
Attendees: Mary Harwood, Pamela Surprenant, Michael Carroll, Beth Curtis, Judy Duval, Ethlyn Dubuque, Dotty Donovan, Joan Falcoa, Bev Blakely, Ross Brown, Sandy Gregg. Via ZOOM: Linda Seavey, Terry Robinson, Don Bedard, Emily Klofft-NRPC
Absent: David Carter, Robin Way, Sarah Kjelleren
1. Call to Order at 3:30 PM by Sandy G
2. Walkthrough with the Congressional Delegation Friday Jan 20,2023 9:00 AM: Mary Harwood reported. Thanks to Andy Julow-Lake Champlain Islands Economic Development for setting this up. The following delegates attended:
Will Stevens – Senator Sanders’ Office
Michelle Monroe – Senator Welch’s Office
Morgan Nichols – Representative Balint’s Office
Richard Amore & Amy Tomasso – Vermont Community Planning & Revitalization
Public Present: Ross Brown, Joan Falcoa, Andy Julow & Donna Boumil-LCIED,
Recommendations from this group:
• Do not go for a bond now as it will negatively affect the Town getting other State/Federal historic preservation grants.
• Moving the Town Offices to the OWMH: take the time to poll your community now.
• Contacts for grants & funding opportunities are forthcoming from this group.
• All were favorably impressed with the project and local support (funds already privately raised).
After the tour comments during discussion at the Town Office:
• Ross Brown: Create a business plan; figure an estimate on the cost to operate the building; need to know how much it will cost to raise the funds; estimate cost on routine maintenance including lawn care, snow-plowing etc.
• David C. stated he will not ask to go for a Bond at the Selectboard meeting Monday Jan 23,2023.
• David C. stated he will ask the Selectboard for an Article to go before voters if they would support a feasibility study to move the Town office into the OWMH.
3. Meeting with historic preservation specialists Friday Jan 20,2023 (the following contains added notes taken at this meeting by Sandy Gregg)
• Attending: Jenna Lapachinski-Preservation Trust of VT
Elizabeth Peebles-VT Division Historic Preservation
Marla Collum-National Park Service-Grant Manager
Laura Trieschmann-Vt State Historic Preservation
Rebecca Arnold-Arnold & Scangas Architects
Lyssa Papazian-Historic Preservation Consultant
David Carter, Michael Carroll, Sarah Kjelleren, Robin Way, Mary Harwood, Terry Robinson, Sandy Gregg
• The following topics were discussed:
• Windows: energy efficiency is of great concern. How can restored windows even with storms on them compete with new windows that replicate the old windows? Who determines this and when in the process?
• Plaster: how much plaster needs to be kept? Is the little that remains even viable to restore and when in the process does this happen? Who determines this and when in the process?
• Beaver Board: is it historic? Is it part of the architectural history of the building? It may all be so brittle it cannot be preserved. Perhaps just preserve a small area of it? Could we use the equivalent in today’s materials? Who determines this and when in the process?
• Tin Ceilings: do we refurbish all that remains? The tin ceilings in the north garage bay are in terrible shape. Do we need to replicate and replace? The tin ceilings above the from staircases is in pretty good shape. do we retire these? Who determines this and when in the process?
• Nail down the period to restore to: Marla Collum stated this is the first step. It is done within the nomination to the National Historic Registry Application. Jenna Lapachinski said she would move the application forward and go out for bids on this task. Then these questions can be answered: repair or restore or replace?
• Treatments: The NPS discusses with Historic Preservation and together they decide treatments. When and how can South Hero participate in this decision making? Rebecca A. stated that the NPS needs details to do this review. Who determines this and when in the process?
• Lyssa Papazian’s opinion is key: as the historic preservationist on the project Lyssa’s opinion is important.
• Eventual use of the building: this needs to be nailed down and now that there is a possible change in direction it seems the current project comes to a halt until the Town decides which direction it wants to take. Note: this process would include a feasibility & cost analysis study and could take a minimum of 1.5-2.5 years! A new Selectboard Committee would be formed.
• Phases: if the project is phased that will determine NPS review.
• Paul Bruhn Grant: deadline is June 30,2024. Marla C stated that a request for extension will be entertained 6 months prior to that date.
• The Addition & Original Building Use: will the addition be Town Office space only or a combination of Town use and public use? Will the original building be for Town use only or for a combination of Town and public use? Must be clearly defined. The addition must be subservient to the original building.
• Easement Committee: Meg Campbell is the contact person.
• Define Period of Significance: Laura Trieschmann will do a site visit. This is needed for the National Historic Registry application. Who sets this up? Sandy G. will email Laura T.
• Grants: Emily K said that VCDP has an ADA Implementation Grant that could help cover ADA. Also, Municipal Planning Grants that could help cover the feasibility study to move the Town Offices.
4. Articles for Town Meeting – update: There will be no bond Article to fund the project.
David C. will ask the Selectboard about a Feasibility Study Article to move the Town Offices to the Old White Meeting House. The plan would be the Grannies would then move into the current town office building…back to where it all began.
5. Public Comment & Announcements:
• Michael Carroll stated the goal now seems to be to preserve the structure itself as a shell. Is Phase #1 now the foundation, the exterior and roof and east facing windows?
• Linda Seavey stated there should be an efficiency comparison done on the windows i.e. restored old windows with storms to new replacement windows made to look like the old windows. Efficiency can be negotiated! Also, what type of glass is to be used? Also, cost is an issue and can be negotiated with all parties.
• Ethlyn Dubuque asked,” How did you get 2 estimates?”. Mary H. responded we needed some idea of costs so A&S Architects (preservation approach) provided one estimate and a volunteer retired contractor gave us another pro bono (new construction approach). Interestedly enough both were very similar. When the time comes to do the project a formal bid process will happen.
• Pamela Surprenant stated she is worried about the state of the building. Is it safe?
• Ross Brown responded “The building is not going to fall down. I think it will be fine.”
• Ross Brown asked if there were cedar shakes under the slate on the roof?
• Linda Seavey said that my be in the Engineering Ventures Assessment so take a look there.
• VCDP Grant Status: Emily K. said to include this the agenda at our next meeting.
6. Next Meeting – Tuesday, February 21,2023 at 3:30 PM
7. Adjourn at 4:34 PM
Sandy Gregg, Scribe
South Hero Meeting House Committee