Minutes – 2021-12-04

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December 4, 2021

The Historic Preservation Commission met via Zoom on Saturday, December 4, 2021. Commissioners present on Zoom were Suzette Astley, Grace Chamberlain, Janet Budack, Leah Rogers and Guy Booth. There were no guests at the meeting. Because there was not a quorum, no action was taken on the Minutes of the previous meeting. There were no design review requests for this meeting.

Suzette led a discussion regarding the budget for the next fiscal year. There are several suggestions regarding budget expenses. This would include contributing toward a new sign near the bridge at the west end of the Cornell campus. The City will be contributing toward the sign. The sign will be moved so it is closer to the street and will provide updated historic information about Lincoln Highway the bridge.

Suzette also mentioned that we may want to use funds to update the maps for the historic districts. The Cornell district map is being updated by Jennifer Price. It is suggested that the maps for both the Ash Park District and the downtown commercial district be updated so they all have the same appearance and information. Suzette will find out what the costs for updates of the other two maps will be. When Suzette completes the line items for the budget, she will send the proposed budget out for review by the Commissioners.

Suzette also announced that she is going to send out notices regarding continuing education opportunities. She receives information on a monthly basis about programs that are available. Some of the programs have registration fees, but others do not. This will be a good way for all of the members to see the opportunities for continuing education programs.

There was discussion regarding the audio tour. We have previously discussed the budget expense of $500. While this may seem high, Grace Chamberlain indicates that her committee feels it is a good idea to pay the invoice and keep the audio tour in place for the next year. There may be a better way to have the audio tour available. Cornell has indicated they may not be interested in paying a share of the expense, so we will look at other ways to keep this feature available to present the history of Mount Vernon.

Grace mentioned that the C02 pipeline that is being planned to come through the state of Iowa may come close to Mount Vernon, and especially close to the Abbe Creek School House. The Commission will look into how this may affect the school house, as well as the cemetery that is across the road.

Suzette gave an update on King Chapel. The College is forming a team to work with all of the issues of the repair of the building. Brad Lang is the architect in charge of the project. Members of the committee will be from the administration of Cornell, and certainly, from Scott Ladwig.

There was a discussion regarding the request for putting a new antenna on the water tower, which is located in the Cornell Historic District. Edge Consulting Engineers prepared a lengthy and thorough description of how the new antenna will affect the site of the new antenna on top of the water tower. It will probably be approved on a motion of no material effect when the actual application comes before the Commission.

A discussion was held regarding how the contribution from the Maurice Foundation should be used. The City feels the money can be used either in this year’s budget or next year’s budget. There have been three suggestions for using the money. One suggestion was to contribute toward the sign that is being repaired and replaced by the railroad bridge. The second is to contribute toward the production of a sesquicentennial play. The third is applying funds

toward the ongoing restoration of the Visitor’s Center. After discussing these three proposals, the Commission, by consensus, felt the money will be best used, and most easily recognized if it is applied to the production of the play. It is possible that some of the funds could also be used for a new sign.

Grace mentioned that there may be ways to have our website be maintained. Some of the monthly updating could be done by a member of the Commission which would save some expenses for the work previously done by Scott Cannon. Grace indicates that we do not have access for updating the website, as we do not have a password for access. Suzette will visit with Scott Cannon as to how we might be able to do some of the work that currently needs to go through him to keep our website up to date.

Suzette indicates that she will contact Commissioners to let us know if a December 15 meeting will be necessary.

Respectfully Submitted, Guy Booth, Secretary