Minutes – 2021-09-04

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September 4, 2021

The Historic Preservation Commission met via Zoom on Saturday, September 4, 2021. Commissioners present on Zoom were Leah Rogers, Mary Evans, Ed Sauter, Suzette Astley, Grave Chamberlain and Guy Booth. Also present were Nathan Countryman from the Mount Vernon-Sun newspaper, and Myles Kolmstetter, a student from Cornell College.

Upon motion duly made and seconded, the Minutes of the August 18, 2021 meeting were approved.

There are two design review agenda items. The first is from Guy Booth, who lives at 717 6th Ave. NW. The residence is in the Ash Park historic district. The design review request relates to a new roof for the residence and the garage, as well as minimal repair work to the fish scale siding near the peak of the roof. The contractor for the project is Robison Roofing. The work is needed to repair damage caused by the derecho in August, 2020. The roof will have new asphalt shingles which are dark grey. They will be the same as the current shingles. Further, some crown molding under the facia, and some fish scale siding near the peak of the roof will need to be replaced. The completed work should match the architecture of the house as it was prior to the derecho. Upon motion made by Ed Sauter, seconded by Leah Rogers, a certificate of appropriateness was approved.

The second design review request comes from Steve and Mary Young. They reside at 115 4th Ave. SW. A fence that has been in place on the property for a number of years has deteriorated and they desire to replace the fence. They described the new fence as being a duplicate of the fence that is being replaced. It will be natural wood and will be located along the property lines in the same place as the previous fence. This property is in the Cornell historic district. Upon motion by Leah Rogers, seconded by Guy Booth, a certificate of appropriateness was approved.

Miles Kolmstetter, who is a senior at Cornell College, is doing historical research of Mount Vernon during a block. He is interested in using a metal detector to look for artifacts throughout the community. He hopes to be able to gather information about the development of the town. He is hopeful of finding a number of artifacts and making them part of the collection at Cornell. A number of the Commissioners gave suggestions for areas of the town that might be promising for his search. Leah cautioned that he become familiar with procedures that are used by archaeologists to locate and protect artifacts. Miles indicates he will give us a report as to his findings after his senior project is completed.

Under new business, Suzette provided a copy of the proposed newsletter that will be sent out. Sue indicates that the city will send the newsletter along with a regular news update that comes from the city. This will reduce the expenses for HPC as the city will take care of the postage. Because the newsletter will go to all homes in Mount Vernon, we have decided to give an update indicating that only buildings in the historic district need to comply with all of the regulations required by the historic preservation ordinance of the city.

It was indicated that terms on the commission are up for Suzette, Ed, Sue Hargus and Janet Budack. Suzette and Ed indicate they are willing to serve another term. Guy Booth will check with Sue Hargus and Janet Budack to encourage them to continue on the Commission.

Under old business, Suzette presented the proposed budget for the next fiscal year. Sue was able to give a very thorough report as to what line items in the budget may need to have increased spending. It was also discussed how the proposed work of Jennifer Price in bringing

the Visitor’s Center into the official buildings of the Cornell Historic District may use funds that would otherwise not be part of the normal HPC budget. Suzette’s presentation gave a thorough look at how the commission can stay within its normal annual budget, but how the expenditure items may be redirected based upon projects of the Commission. The Commission continues to be committed to hiring Jennifer Price for work on the Visitor’s Center, with an estimated cost of $2,950. Although this was a preview of a budget request, all of the commissioners felt it was well-reasoned and concurred that a final draft can be approved and sent to the City Council.

There was some discussion regarding the production of the sesquicentennial play. The expenses for the production may be beyond the available funds in the HPC budget. The City will be asked to contribute. It was also suggested that other organizations in Mount Vernon, including the churches, may be given the opportunity to have the history of their individual organizations be displayed at the time of the play. We would hope that additional revenue could come from these organizations as they use this format to join in the celebration of our 175 years.

Suzette also gave an update on the possibility of HPC working with the Mount Vernon housing commission. Many of the properties that could be termed affordable housing are located within the historic districts.

Mary Evans indicated that the shelving has been completed in the new archive room. It is proposed that the transfer of artifacts be done over a period of time which would help in the organization of the room. Mary will contact commissioners when more help is needed on the transfer of artifacts. Mary also updated the upcoming presentation regarding houses that have been moved in Mount Vernon and a presentation on the Waln/Wolfe house.

A brief discussion was held regarding the forum for our next meeting. All Commissioners agreed that the next meeting should once again be held on Zoom. Any change in that meeting method will be discussed.

The next meeting of the Commission is tentatively scheduled for September 15, 2021 depending on agenda items that may need to be resolved.

Respectfully Submitted, Guy Booth, Secretary