Parks, Facilities and Beautification Committee
September 11, 2013
Present were: John Bourisseau, Christine Comstock, Chief Gabe Barone, George Skipper, Dale Berger, Bonnie Borman Goldston
The meeting was called to order by Chairperson Comstock at 10:06 AM.
Approval of the Minutes
The August 14, 2013 minutes were approved as submitted.
Addition to Agenda
Signs for Metroparks levy.
The carpet has been ordered. Molly will work with Life Style Floors to schedule the installation(s).
PayPal account. The procedure for the PayPal account will be, “Upon recommendation from a Committee, a Council person or the Mayor, Council will vote on the proposed item for which the PayPal account will be used. If approved, an icon will be placed on the website and the Finance Director will manage the monies as they come in.”
Holiday lighting plans. We liked the holiday lights that had been displayed last month. John will speak with Troy to get prices finalized. Bonnie Borman Goldston, as President of the Garden Club, was present to talk about the Garden Club webpage and to talk about Holiday decorating plans. They have scheduled their November meeting to make bows. We discussed specifics of the numbers of wreaths and bows. We will check last year’s invoices, budget and proposals. We do prefer to buy locally.
Eagle Scout Project.
Alex DiStaulo has placed both the bat houses and the blue bird houses in the Park. Both bluebirds and bats eat mosquitoes. Hopefully, they will cut down on the mosquito population next year. Alex has dropped off the owl houses at the Service Department. The Metroparks naturalist helped him with the number and placement of the bird houses and we will send thanks.
For future projects, we would like to focus on removal of invasive plants and the planting of indigenous plants where possible.
John has sent a letter to Brian Zimmerman in response to Mr. Zimmerman’s recent letter. The letter is attached. Bonnie Goldston mentioned new information she had received about some grant monies available for 501(c)(3) organizations. John pointed out that since we have no lease on the property now, we would not even have standing to apply for a grant.
The sledding hill will be a great addition to the Park this winter for families with small children. At the top of the hill is a grill and a picnic table for those families who enjoy winter picnics. The Service Department will keep the Park plowed as weather conditions permit. The wording for the sledding hill caution to be posted, is “Please use the Sledding Hill with caution, at your own risk, with proper equipment and only when proper weather/snow conditions exist.”
Dale now has internet access at the Service Garage. Email him at email@example.com
Signs for Metroparks Renewal Levy
John will request lawn signs supporting the levy to be delivered to Village Hall so residents might pick them up there. We will post signs at Village Hall, at the Union Cemetery and at the Village Park.
October 9, 2013 10:00 AM
Meeting Adjourned: 10:50 AM
Dear Mr. Zimmerman,
The Friends of the Duncan McFarland Homestead, a 501 (c) 3 entity, has made steady progress in the preservation of the McFarland home over the last 10 years. Slow--but steady. It is inaccurate to say that we have been “loosely following” the plan outlined by Chambers, Murphy & Burge, Restoration Architects. The Priority of Repairs outlined in their report has been our guide--and we have fully accomplished 6 of the 10 objectives, with 2 others being partially completed.
We undertook this project because the MetroParks was letting a historic building rot away and had no intentions of restoring or using it. It was demolition by neglect. We accepted the challenge of preserving the building and finding a use for it as a place to share the history of our community. If the MetroParks has some other intent for the building, then please let us know.
Our means are modest, but our first investment was to commission a complete analysis of the building by Chamber, Murphy & Burge so that we would know what we were getting into and to have a plan to follow. We are following the plan.
You frequently mention the price tag of $300,000. This was the estimate by the Architects for a full restoration using only commercial resources. It does not take into account volunteer work or donated resources. We have accomplished a great deal on this project because we have maximized the use of donated material and volunteer workers. The site has been the beneficiary of 3 Eagle Scout projects and thousands of hours of volunteer work--and there is the opportunity for more. When we have needed professional work completed (repair of roof, floors, stairwell etc.) we have used experienced contractors who are fully bonded and insured.
It is our belief that we can finish the preservation of this structure for less than $40,000--possibly far less. The only major expense left is the abatement of the presence of minor amounts of asbestos and lead paint.
Once that is completed, almost all of the remaining work is cosmetic and can be done by volunteers or tradesmen at low cost. This would include completing the tuck-pointing that we have not been able to do since you have not renewed our lease(since the tuck-pointing is external, it could still be completed if you would let us do so), plastering work, stripping and refinishing floorboards for re-installation, painting, etc.
Regarding some of the other points from your letter dated 7/30/13...
In previous communications, we have indicated that is our intent to bring only electricity to the building. Bathroom facilities would be external utilizing a portable unit similar to the one used in Bentleyville Park--or throughout the MetroPark System.
The first floor of the structure would be handicap accessible utilizing the entrance on the North side of the building that comes into the old kitchen area.
The building actually had ample parking until the MetroParks took it away and planted grass. Parking could be re-instituted on the North side of the building, with additional parking--if needed--at the Bentleyville Service garage, or in the area adjacent to the Arboretum. (individuals parking at this furthest point would have less of a walk-and a far safer one-- than those who attend events at Look About Lodge and have to park near the sledding hill, or those attending events at the Century Home at the Polo Fields who have to walk along route 87)
You have indicated on more than one occasion that “we are committed to working with the Village and the Friends of the Duncan McFarland Homestead to support their goals”. Your most recent actions do not support this statement. After 10 years of work by many dedicated individuals along with the investment of the limited resources that we have--you have changed the rules. You have imposed a set of conditions that far exceed the scope of our project, and in our opinion, are designed to stop it, not support it.
How do you expect us to be able to raise funds for this project when we don’t have a lease? What do we tell potential donors when they ask the question “Will the Metro-Parks change the rules again”?
At this point we have lost a season of work. We had planned to finish the tuck-pointing while raising the funds for asbestos and lead paint abatement.
What plans do you have for the structure? If you have none, then what is the harm in letting us continue to preserve the building in line with our objectives. If we fail, then tear it down.
The McFarland planning committee
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