- Catherine Callahan, Chair
- Lorraine Tindaro, Vice-Chair
- Mark Evans, Secretary
- Dawn Coughlan
- Paul Stephens
- Leah Jennings
- Tony Wagner (Excused)
- Patty DeFroscia (Excused)
- Karen Marshall
- Seth Hinshaw
- Paul Mullin
- Mike Bedrick
- Licia Carini
- Tony Disario
The meeting was opened by Secretary Evans at 7:05PM, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. Mark E announced that the meeting was being recorded to expedite transcription of minutes, and continued with Members Roll Call, and Introduction of Guests, then went right into OLD BUSINESS - Membership (see below). After realizing he was inadvertently out of sequence with the Agenda, the meeting got back on track.
Approval of 6/17/20 Minutes
Mark E asked for a motion for approval of the minutes of the 6/17/20 Meeting.
Motion moved by Paul Stephens, second by Lorraine Tindaro.
Vote called by Mark E.
Motion passed unanimously.
- MEMBERSHIP AND ATTENDANCE
- Mark E asked if Mike B had reached out to Denise to schedule interview. Mike B said he thought the Commission was setting it up, but that he would take care of that immediately. Mark said they’d try to get the interview in before the next Historical Commission meeting.
- SPACKMAN FARM UPDATE
- Mark E stated that at the 7/9 BOC Meeting, the Board authorized Township Engineer Bryan Kulakowsky to advertise for bids to replace the Barn Roof at Spackman Farm. The specs were worked on in conjunction with Paul Stephens, and will include options for Cedar Shake and Metal shingles.
- Paul S clarified that it would be metal roofing and wood shingles. He thought the specs prepared by Bryan K were good, but there were some slight modifications and additional information he normally includes in his specs that he shared with Bryan K, and that he expects it will move along pretty well.
- Karen Marshall noted that when working with Historical resources, the Township can specify that the contractor have experience with Historical resources. Paul S responded that he and Bryan did not discuss, and that he is not that familiar with PA bid requirements for public work, other than it has to be bid. Karen added that the County qualifies contractors for such projects, and that while there’s not a lot that can be done with the bidding process, when you’re dealing with a property like Spackman, you need somebody with Hx experience. Paul added that in the past they have asked for examples of 3 projects of similar size and scope. Karen added that wording the County has used is “demonstrated experience in working with “x” material”. If the lowest bidder does not have “demonstrated experience”, you do not have to award them the contract. Mark E said that he would send an email to Bryan and Kristen to make sure that is in the bid advertisement.
- Mark E stated that we were still waiting for a response of cost to run electric and install spot lights and security cameras at Farmhouse and hoped to have an update soon.
- SCHOOLHOUSE UPDATE
- Dawn C and Paul S met with Mike Fragale. The building has been painted and various repairs have been made. Paul S will continue to communicate to ensure project is done appropriately. Dawn C added that the inside looks great, and that the Township has also weeded around the building so the outside now looks even better. She said that Paul S recommended options to Mike F for sealing the cupola and that he was very receptive, he even asked Paul’s opinion on some of the stone.
- Mark E asked Leah J to share her experience with the Edge’s Mill Bridge replacement. She stated it’s very important that all work be done to maintain Historical accuracy, and that shortcuts not be taken as were with the Bridge - everything was to be replaced exactly as it was before being taken down, but in the end the top slabs to the walls were removed and used on a different bridge in Chester County. These stone slabs were very special because they were carved with the initials of kids, lovers, hearts and dates back to the 1940’s. To make things worse, this Bridge is on the National Registry. The slabs sat in her yard the entire time the bridge was being rebuilt, and she witnessed them being carted off. She confirmed it was a Penndot project. Mark E asked Karen Marshall and Paul Mullin if there was anything that could be done to get the top slabs back. Karen M first said that Monica Herrell at Penndot should have the records, but then said she’d pull her own files on it. Mark E suggested that if we can find where they are now located, and obtain photographs, perhaps we can try to get them returned. Much discussion followed. Leah J is to email Karen M to remind her to look into it.
- WEBSITE IMPROVEMENTS REVIEW
- Tony W was on vacation. Mark E said that Tony was working with Abbey, that we now have our agendas posted prior to meetings, and that our minutes for 2020 had all been transmitted to her after the June meeting. He mentioned that he knows Abbey’s plate is very full, and will reach out to be sure they are posted.
- CHESTER COUNTY HISTORIC PRESERVATION NETWORK UPDATE
- Mark E asked Cathy C if we were members, and if we are all supposed to be receiving the monthly newsletters. Cathy said she had done this months earlier. Cathy C said she had called Denise to make sure everyone’s names and contact info were on it.
- SUB-COMMITTEE MEETINGS – Mark E
- Mark E asked for confirmation for each sub-committee member as per the assignment grid he had sent around. Mark E mentioned that the Historical Preservation Sub-Com will be very busy due to the upcoming Township Zoning Update. Mike Bedrick urged that Hx Com be heavily championed on Zoning Taskforce as it will be a big group.
- Spackman Farm Sub-Com: Dawn C nominated Paul S, who accepted. Dawn C to Vice-Chair
- Hx Preservation Sub-Com: Leah will lead and Cathy C will work with her
- Tony W will lead Marketing and Promotion. Lorraine, Licia C, and Mike B will also be involved.
- EDGE’S MILL HISTORIC DISTRICT PRESENTATION
- Mark E turned the meeting over to Karen Marshall of CCHC, and Seth Hinshaw of RGA. Karen opened by saying that the work on bridge had caused Penndot to look at entire Beaver Creek area, and a consultant felt that due to its industrial legacy, the entire creek was eligible for the National Registry. The PHMC disagreed, so the consultant’s survey was modified to take out Downingtown, and the nomination was sent out. Three years passed with no action. Eventually Cathy C started the process to get her house on the Register. Finally, a new head of the division came out to look at District, no longer found it to be a linear district, but thought that Bondsville Mill and Edge’s Mill could be bookends of an Historic District. PHMC was not certain about Bondsville, but said that if a nomination for Edge’s Mill was were to be written and presented to them, they saw no problem with moving it along quickly. Seth added that it normally takes 1 ½ years to get something through PHMC so this was a good sign. Wise Preservation/RGA was asked to prepare a proposal - they just got Bondsville Mill project approved. Karen M emphasized that because Bondsville is a public Municipal project, East Brandywine’s BOS were on board with paying for it and were also interested in Keystone matching funding. She continued by saying that she and Cathy C had met via Zoom with Kristen Denne who recommended that they meet with the Hx Com to review the RGA proposal. Karen M then asked if everyone on the Hx Com had received a copy of the proposal, and added that this should have happened before the this meeting. The only member of the Hx Com that had the proposal was Cathy. Since no other members had had the chance to review the proposal, Karen suggested the she and Seth come back to the next meeting. Seth offered to email it to everyone right then. There was an attempt to coordinate delivery via chat, but chat was not enabled in Zoom. Karen Marshall read the proposal to the Commission. Dawn C asked if there was a timeline for the project, Seth replied there was not. The proposal calls for authorization to hire RGA to prepare a proposal at a cost $5,995. Karen M and Paul S both thought the price was reasonable. Seth stated he had just send it to Mark E via email. He added that he would expect to get the proposal done within this calendar year, starting now with incorporating the State’s new list of requirements, and doing photography of the site in the fall.
- Dawn C asked about photography and on-site survey/assessment.
- Mark E received the email from Seth and after giving it a once over confirmed that he had not seen any of it prior to this meeting, and that all members would have had to receive it in advance of the meeting. He offered to send it around to everyone.
- Cathy C added that she had been given the impression by PHMC that this was the last thing that needed to be done, that it was a go, and that it would be immediate. She noted that she had not shared the documents with the Hx Com because she didn’t think she was supposed to until Seth was present to walk everyone through it. Mark E responded that Hx Com members should always have advance copies of anything they are expected to consider. Cathy continued that she misunderstood, thinking that since she alone had started the process for her individual home only, and had done all of that work without requesting money, that she was still supposed to be handling everything on her own. Mark thanked her for all the great advance work she had done, but added that since this was no longer a matter of one home, and that the proposal would require asking the Township for a significant amount of money, the Hx Com could not consider it without having time to review. Karen M remarked that it was she who requested the study, and that it was her responsibility to send the proposal around. Karen then suggested that we might want to end the discussion right there until everyone has a chance to review in depth. Paul S asked about what steps would come after the study. Seth replied that it was already unofficially pre-approved, once the form is submitted and approved all that would need to be done is to copy it into the National Registry form and resubmit, but acceded that there may still be comments to address before resubmission. Paul asked if the fee stated in proposal would cover everything, Karen M was not sure of how many edits RGA would be willing to do at this price. Paul S suggested we table it for the next meeting. Mark E asked for a motion to table for the next meeting.
Cathy C objected, and questioned why anyone would vote against adding a property to the National Registry. Paul S clarified that we were not voting on the property, that we were voting on the proposal. Mark E added that we would be outside our legal bounds by voting on it at this time.
Karen Marshall asked to address the Hx Com. She stated that we did not have the prerogative or ability to act on it without having the proposal in front of us, that we would be voting on a contract we had never seen, that we would be shirking our duties and could get into trouble when the minutes are circulated. She clarified that we had to postpone this, and that she would be happy to come to the next meeting on August 19th.
Mark E called the vote.
Motion passed 5-1
Tony D asked if the entire Township would get to see a copy of the proposal or only the BOC. Mark said that he believed that if the CTHC were to send it on to the BOC, that the Township would be able to review it. Other members agreed.
- 2021 BUDGET DISCUSSION
- Mark E asked if everyone had a copy of the Ordinance that established the Hx Com. He noted that in the past there have been some confusing responses from the Township and previous BOCs as to whether or not we had the right to request a budget. He clarified that we do. While most of our expenditures involve properties owned by the Township, and are therefore funded by the Township, it would still be nice to have a “little something on hand” at our disposal should small needs arise. He asked that everyone brainstorm on what they would like to ask for. Paul M confirmed that August would be the month to get the request in, and that it was important that we specify reasons for the money, certain goals for next year/2 years out. Paul recognized the ideas and great many good things that Jim Spaulding had wanted to accomplish the previous year, but there had been nothing set aside in the 2020 budget to make it happen. Mike B suggested an email wish-list we could share with each other and an estimate of value, from marketing and hosting costs for Hx Preservation awareness, to forming the 501 C3s and fundraising. Paul S added that there were legitimate things we could do as a Commission to promote what we do and what the Township History is about that would not cost High dollars. There may be some memberships we want to look into that would be beneficial to us, including a statewide organization. Mark E suggested we all come up with budgetary “Worst-Best -Probable” scenario wish lists prior to the next meeting.
Motion by Paul S. 2nd by Lorrain T.
Mark E called the vote.
Motion passed 6-0
2. SOCIAL MEDIA AND PROMOTION
- Mark E noted that there wasn’t much to cover in Tony W’s absence, but inquired about “footage” of Lois telling the history of Caln, suggesting that if we could get a copy of all of that, we could begin editing it into a series of 1 to 2-minute clips to be rotated on the website titled something like “Lois Talks”. He asked if there was interest, and there was. Mike B and Lorraine T said OCHS should have it. Dawn C confirmed. Cathy added that Lois is amazing. Dawn said we could possibly get access to it. Mike B suggested we do it along the lines of Ken Burns’ documentary work. Mark E added that he’d love to shoot “new” footage of her at the locations, but understood that Covid made that currently impossible. Paul S and Mike said that just having her voice over images would do the trick.
3. ZONING TASKFORCE RECOMMENDATIONS
- Mark E suggested we all start thinking about the Zoning Update and what we want from it.
- Dawn C asked about item #5 on the Meeting Agenda “COORDINATION WITH LINCOLN HIGHWAY COMMITTEE”. Mark commented that the Lincoln Highway Commission was starting up again and that we might want to think about how to capitalize on a rebirth of Lincoln Highway.
- Paul S asked if we could get an in-person tour of the Spackman Farm for the Historical Commission, or at least for the members of the Sub Committee. Paul M noted that safety was the biggest factor with the property, adding that BOC members are covered under the Township Insurance but we should check with Kristen about others. Paul S also inquired about “socially distanced” in-person Sub Committees meetings, adding that he thought a tour would be useful as Spackman Farm seems to be the primary preservation project within the Township that is ongoing and has a real direction at this point. He suggested that everyone on SF Sub-Com should look at the King’s Highway Master Plan. Paul M asked Paul S his thoughts on making Spackman Farm a non-profit. Paul S replied that non-profits are generally falling on hard times, and that he would love to explore the possibility of getting RFPs out to look into the probability of a lease arrangement with someone who might convert it into an events facility. They would invest in it but the Township would still own it. You might not see money out of it right away, but the responsibility for upkeep and maintenance would be out of our hands. “It will take an active use to see that complex preserved. Without some kind of active use, it’s going to fall into disrepair. Find a way to make buildings pay for themselves”, 501 C3s are good, but will not pull in the kind of money required. Paul M asked if we would first have to make the repairs on the house and driveway, Paul S replied that all of that could be made a part of the RFP, keeping in mind that respondents will have to determine what they could invest and still make a profit, since that is their primary objective. It has to be a viable business. Other options are to do the initial work and recover it through lease payments, or put the money out ourselves and then turn it over to them for $1/year for 20 years. Mark E added that we have to be careful how we parcel it out so that we don’t lose our entire non-profit tax abatement for the property. Licia C asked Paul S about Duportail House, if that was the type of project he was suggesting. Paul S concurred. She added that something like that would be a nice gem for our Township.
- Cathy C made a statement to the Commission about her passion for the Edge’s Mill project.
Mark E thanked everyone for a wonderful, spirited conversation and asked if there was any additional business to be discussed. As there was none:
Mark E asked for a motion to adjourn.
Moved by Paul S, second by Leah J
Mark E called the vote.
Motion passed 6-0.
Meeting adjourned at 8:34 PM.