Gothic Cottage to be renovated for improved town office space

Issue of preservation versus functionality a concern

— The Gothic Cottage on lower Albany Street may be a beautiful building full of local history, but as a town office its practicality leaves much to be desired. This is why, after nearly six years of study, consideration and discussions, the Cazenovia Town Board recently decided it will move forward on a total reconstruction of the building’s interior to make it a more functional and user-friendly workplace and public meeting area.

The project, for which no cost estimates have yet been developed, would 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.

“As an old building it needs a lot of repair [and] its interior configuration does hinder public participation somewhat,” said Town Councilor Liz Moran, who is coordinating the project for the board and actually began the evaluations of the cottage’s condition during her tenure as town supervisor in 2006. “Our intention is to update it and hopefully make it a much more functional space.”

Renovation needs

The Gothic — or Bob-O-Link — Cottage was built in 1847 as a home for Henry Ten Eyck and his wife Elizabeth. Due to the mid-19th century architecture and its original use as a home, most of the cottage’s rooms are small and stylish and therefore not conducive to gatherings of multiple people at one time. For example, during town board meetings, the board sits at a table in the west parlor while audience members sit in folding metal chairs in what was once a hallway or back in the adjoining east parlor. The doorways between the two parlors inhibit sight lines as well as hinder sound from traveling.

The interior configuration not only needs to be improved for public use, but the building also must have handicapped accessibility — probably through the addition of an elevator to the second floor — as well as public restrooms, Moran said.

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