Gothic Cottage to be renovated for improved town office space

Issue of preservation versus functionality a concern

— At the Jan. 14 town board meeting, Moran told the full board that the board members and professional town staff who work in the building had a “consensus decision” to officially recommend that the town renovate the cottage’s interior and improve its infrastructure. The board agreed and approved the expenditure of $1,500 for a project consultant.

The next step is for the town to offer a Request for Proposals from interested architects, but an architect probably will not be selected until the second quarter of the year, Moran said. There will then be public information sessions and the typical state environmental review process to go through.

As for the cost of the project, Moran said there is no estimated cost for the project at this time, but the town already has $600,000 in its capital reserve fund. That will not be enough to cover the project, and a public bond will most likely have to be voted on for the remaining costs, she said.

However, interest rates and construction costs currently are at low levels, so it is a good time to start the project. “We are not anticipating any impact on tax rates from this project,” she said.

Historical concerns

In addition to the financial concerns of completing such a major renovation project, there are also concerns regarding historical preservation.

“We are aware that it is a historical building, and we may be able to keep some touches such as the windows and woodwork, but it needs to be functional as a town office,” Moran said.

While the idea of modernizing the cottage while retaining some of its historic character can be done, “the devil is in the details as they say,” said Cazenovia Town Historian Sara Chevako, of the New Woodstock Regional Historical Society. “In general we must recognize that we can’t just put a bubble over historic buildings and keep it all the way it was, however, a lot of people are attracted to Cazenovia because of its historical ambience.”

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