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Town board interviews potential architects for Gothic Cottage renovation project

Discussions take place behind closed doors despite supervisor’s objection

The Gothic Cottage, built in 1847, is in need of structural renovations. Whether the town board decides to upgrade and possibly even build an addition to the building to better house the town offices will depend on the plan ultimately proposed by the architectural form selected for the work. The board will discuss the issue at its Aug. 12 meeting.

The Gothic Cottage, built in 1847, is in need of structural renovations. Whether the town board decides to upgrade and possibly even build an addition to the building to better house the town offices will depend on the plan ultimately proposed by the architectural form selected for the work. The board will discuss the issue at its Aug. 12 meeting.

— The Cazenovia Town Board last week interviewed the three final architectural firm candidates for the planned renovation work to the Gothic Cottage to get a sense of which firm may be the best fit for the town’s project. The interviews, which lasted about an hour each, were closed to the public and the press by a split vote of the board, although board members said they plan to discuss the issue publicly at their next regular monthly meeting on Monday, Aug. 12.

While the board’s decision to take the interviews into executive session was in accordance with the New York State Open Meetings Law, the way in which the action was taken violated that law by not detailing the specific reason(s) for the executive session, according to the state Committee on Open Government.

No votes were taken or official decisions made by the town board about which architecture firm to select as a result of last week’s meetings. The official board vote on the architect choice is expected to occur at the board’s Aug. 12 regular monthly meeting.

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 is expected to 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 town board decided this past February to officially move forward with renovation plans, and issued a Request for Qualifications from interested architectural firms on April 15. The RFQ was 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.

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