Andes gets matching grant for library renovation work


By Matthew J. Perry
After receiving a matching-fund grant for historical preservation and improvement, the Town of Andes is ready to begin a renovation of the Bohlman Public Library. Since the town planning board reviewed plans for the renovation last year, the approval of that body was not required for work to begin on the interior of the existing building.
The board was approached at its regular meeting on March 24 by Ashokan Architectural Planning to confirm that neither a site plan nor a motion of approval needed to be obtained at this juncture. On March 8, the town received a grant of $100,000 to match existing funds for the project. According to the conditions of the grant, work must begin within 180 days of the award, which will require a promptly executed schedule of bidding and acquisition of permits. Members of the planning board saw no reason why the first phase of the library’s overhaul—which is narrower in scope than a proposed expansion of the building and grounds—should not proceed smoothly.
The renovation presents no challenges to the historic character of the hamlet, since it will focus on the building’s interior. The only external changes proposed are the replacement of wrought iron support beams on the porch with wooden columns, new windows and a paint job. The columns will be more consistent with the original details of the building.
Inside, the primary goal is to open up and make greater use of the second story, which will require a new stairway and shifting room partitions.
The ambitious second phase of the project is still moving forward and could follow hard on the heels of the first phase if it passes review with various agencies. An environmental assessment form (EAF) must be completed, and the DEP will have to approve storm water and flood elevation measures for the addition. While the planning board was encouraging, Chairman Frank Winkler reminded the library trustees that there are no guarantees of unimpeded progress. “We’re building a library here,” he said. “We have to get it right.”
The board also continued a thorough review of a major subdivision presented by owner Harold Cole and surveyor Doug Wooden. The 83.7 acre land parcel extends eastward from Route 28 and above the former location of the Andel Inn. Eight lots, ranging in size from 6.84 to 19.5 acres, are proposed to be accessed by a private road and contain one house of at least 2,000 square feet.
The planning board declared itself lead agency and declared the subdivision as an unlisted SEQR action. A public hearing was set for May 12.
The subdivision’s road, which contains two switchbacks and a cul-de-sac, is exempt from town regulations due to its privacy. A road maintenance agreement, which would be presented to all buyers, has already been drafted. Nevertheless, the board was concerned that the road be accessible in the event of a fire or the town’s takeover of maintenance.