Hardy Plumbing
December 07, 2011

PDD Money To Be Used For Landmarks Initiatives

In an attempt trying to get projects moving forward, nearly a dozen people met with Southampton Town Board last Friday to discuss legislative initiatives for historic and landmarked properties.

"There are lots of questions with living in and owning a landmarked or historical property," Councilwoman Nancy Graboski said. "We need something in the way of a funding stream to make this work."

About $500,000 was created from a Sebonac Planned Development District to be used as a funding stream for new landmarks and historic programs.

Establishing a historic burying ground program and a landmarks maintenance program were discussed with Landmarks and Historic Districts Board Chair Sally Spanburgh and Southampton Town Historian Zach Studenroth. Both programs would get $100,000.

"The board is currently developing a landmarks program for owners of structures who can't afford maintenance," Spanburgh said.

Studenroth, who is spearheading the historic burying ground program, said he is working to identify what constitutes a historical site and is trying to restore cemetery stones.

"Many are at risk," he said. "This project is within the office of the town clerk, because they are in fact records."

Each expenditure will be brought before the town board before it gets the green light.

"I have discussed with Zach and Sally about giving a certain leeway on expenditures that can be monitored," said Town Clerk Sundy Schermeyer.

Councilman Chris Nuzzi expressed concern over outlining out those expenditures and specific amounts.

"With regard to any disbursement of monies concerning community involvement, there needs to be a level of administration within the department as well as going through the eyes of the comptroller so all is properly tracked," Graboski said.

The councilwoman added that utilizing the money the way that it was intended would benefit putting the programs in place for the community.

Councilman Jim Malone stressed the need to be fiscally responsible, saying, "These are not recurring funds. Once this $500,000 is gone, it's gone. You have to be concerned with how you're going to get money."

Spanburgh noted that she constantly hears the same two things from members of the community.

"I always hear, one, my taxes are killing me, and two, I can't afford to keep my historic house," she said.

Trying to help people maintain their historic homes is one of the biggest goals for Spanburgh and her team, adding that this program is to have the landmarks and historic districts board working with the town board.

Graboski said the proposed legislation would be further discussed next Tuesday.

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