Skaneateles town, village to preserve history with grant funding

In an attempt to preserve records, new and old, the town and village of Skaneateles applied for a grant through the New York State Archives.

On Thursday, Aug. 21 town clerk Janet Aaron was please to receive a letter noting they had been awarded $17,278 for records management.

"I'm thrilled with this grant because we have a lot of records in our inactive records, our archive records, that are busting at the seam," Aaron said. "We're hoping to continue with applying for grants with doing the same thing for all the maps."

The Documentary Heritage Program is a statewide records program that provides funding to help people and organizations locate, organize and make available the State's historical records, according to a press release from Sen. John DeFrancisco's office.

The town plans to use the funding to digitize and microfilm town minute books from 1830 to 2007, town local laws dated from 1965 to 2007 and marriage records from 1908 to 2001, Aaron said.

The village's portion of the grant will go toward laserfiching a cemetery records book dating back to the early 1800s. The book contains the layout of the village-owned cemetery, and shows where each plot is located, said village clerk Sally Sheehan.

By making a copy of the book, the village will then be able to have the brittle papers within rebound. It will then be removed from daily use.

"This program is very exciting. I'm also very excited that the village is now able to restore this wonderful, wonderful book on their cemetery," Aaron said.

At the town office, Aaron said, there is not room to continue storing more records and she and her staff have been purging records that are duplicates or unnecessary to continue to keep on file.

"We need to move into the new generation of records management," she said.

With the recent state budget crisis, Aaron said she was afraid the funding to preserve the records would not be available, particularly when the town was not notified of any award by July 1, which is when they are normally notified.

By applying for grants, the town is able to reduce the financial impact on residents at tax time.

"It really has made it possible for us to preserve records in a way that they will be more accessible for the public and preserved for future historical purposes," Aaron said.

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