Town board moves Gothic Cottage renovation project forward

Authorizes request for qualifications from architectural and preservation firms

— The next step in plans to renovate and preserve the Gothic Cottage for use as the town municipal offices took place this week when the town board authorized the supervisor to put out a call for architectural firms interested in working on the project.

The official Request for Qualifications “regarding the architectural and preservation services relative to the Gothic Cottage” was unanimously approved by the board at its April 8 meeting.

The multi-page RFQ provides interested contractors detailed information on the building, the anticipated project and the town’s municipal needs for the improved space. The RFQ will not be released until Monday, April 15, and therefore was not available as of press time.

“We have all the pieces pretty much together,” said Councilor Liz Moran, who is coordinating the project for the board. “We’re really hoping to cast a wide net [with the RFQ].”

The Gothic Cottage, built in 1847 as a home for Henry Ten Eyck and his wife Elizabeth, needs a total reconstruction of the interior to make it a more functional and user-friendly workplace and public meeting area. The renovation project will include exterior and surface repairs to the roof, walls and windows, as well as improved office and public meeting areas, records storage, air conditioning and heating, electrical capability and handicapped accessibility.

Town officials have been considering a remodeling of the Gothic Cottage since 2006, when a capital reserve fund — also called the “future of the town office fund” — was established. The fund currently has a balance of about $600,000.

The RFQ is not a call for contractor bids but a request for interested architectural and preservation firms to present their ideas on how best to plan and undertake the renovation and improvement project. “They have to convince us they have good ideas and are the best ones to hire,” Moran said. When the board ultimately chooses an architectural firm for the work it will be based on qualifications and ideas for the project and not on project pricing, she said.

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