NEW SCOTLAND – The move of the historic Hilton Barn at LeVie Farm will happen.
The move is currently scheduled for Tuesday, March 15.
Grant money from the county has been secured, state funding is applied for, and the town has set aside $25,000.
The town could put down additional funding should the state money not come through.
“We do have a fund with a little over $100,000 from developer lot fees,” said Town Supervisor Doug LaGrange when the county grant was announced at a public hearing on Wednesday, Feb. 17. Using this money, “we could do it on our own without paying tax payer money,” he said, as the cost of the move is now estimated at $150,000, “but I’d rather get the grant.”
“The board has been very meticulous about knowing where we’d stand if things fell through, “ he said. “Now we have $50,000 from the county; That’s a start. Hopefully Assemblywoman [Patricia] Fahy will come through at $125,000 [from the state], and from what I hear Senator Amedore’s office might come through with a grant.”
As securing these state grant funds can be extremely competitive, Fahy is carefully optimistic. “In recommending this for a capital grant it did make a lot of sense in terms of economic development, recreational use because of its tie to the Rail Trail and then, of course, [because of] the preservation needs,” she said in listing her reasons for recommending the grant. If received, the town later would later pay this grant back to the state. “In preservation recommendation we don’t just look backwards, we really have to look forward to make sure they’re sustainable. And I think that this one will be sustainable,” said Fahy.
That grant would provide a great majority of the funds needed for the move.
Supervisor LaGrange said the town is now starting a committee for the barn, under the direction of Councilwoman Pat Snyder. Member of Friends of the Albany County Rail Trail and the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy and others will meet to “look into what we might want to develop this eventually.”
“It’s our 100th year this year at Indian Ladder Farms,” said Peter Ten Eyck, owner of Indian Ladder Farms, “and we appreciate barns, and the workmanship and effort to make that thing with a limited amount of tools is a tribute to this town,” he said, summing up the passion behind the town’s strong support for the preservation of the barn, which another resident called “a total tribute to the artwork of mankind.”
“We talk often about maintaining the historical background of the town, and I think the barn is one of the few tangible structures that we have left in our community,” said resident Saul Abrams, who lives off Route 85A in Clarksville.
“If you go on Fisher Boulevard there’s a metal plaque that says here is where some Revolutionary War soldiers were buried. And if you go across the street from my house there’s a metal plaque that memorializes an old barn. We don’t want our history to exist solely on metal plaques sitting on the side of the road to remind people what used to be here,” he said emphatically. “Here is a building that is historic and we will continue to use for generations to come.”
Albany County Legislator Bill Reinhardt was also there showing his support for the project, and made note of the great addition it will be for the Albany County Rail Trail; As was Bob Conway, mayor of the Village of Voorheesville. “We in the village look at the barn as an enhancement of the rail trail. In the village, starting this spring we are going to do our own pavilion shelter reminiscent of the old rail station. So anything that enhanced the rail trail we are for,” he said.
“From my point of view the comment that a six to eight or year process has been condensed to a very short time period – a couple of months – is really a tribute to the public/private partnerships that have occurred,” said Dan Lewis of Delmar, a chair of Friends of Rail Trail Committee. “I think just the idea of having partnerships are really important and sends an important message to the community that different agencies of government and not-for-profit agencies can work together in a very short period of time and accomplish great things.”
The Voorheesville Community and School Foundation (VCSF) continues to raise funds for the barn. Donation checks may be mailed to VCSF; PO Box 523; Voorheesville, NY 12186; with “Hilton Barn” in the memo line. Donors are asked to include an e-mail address.
As of Monday morning, Feb. 22, the fund had reached over $600 from both large and small donations. The sum will likely be used toward the barn’s restoration, said Patricia Conway, president of VCSF.