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Times of Wayne County

County approves Resolution to give Village of Lyons Hotchkiss Building

Will the Village accept?

At last Tuesday’s (1/18) Wayne County Board of Supervisor’s Meeting, the decision became final, at least as far as the County is concerned. The Board authorized the return of Save America’s treasures (“SAT”) grant award for the Hotchkiss Building Restoration Project. The resolution returned the $197,221, citing the construction time line for the Project extends beyond the June 30, 2011 expiration of the grant. The National Park Service denied a request to extend the grant.

The extension was necessary since various approvals of construction/design fell beyond the time frame of the grant. The County had already spent $103,000 in pre-construction costs prior to pulling the plug on the project last month. There was concern among Board members that if all deadlines were not met on conditions of the grants, the County could have lost up to about $250,000. Only Arcadia Supervisor Dick Colacino voted against the resolution, stating he thought that the building deadlines could be met. He said he hated the idea of losing any grant monies.

In a following resolution the Board voted on the “Termination of agreement to convey the restored Hotchkiss Building to the Village of Lyons and transfer the building in its current condition”. Originally, the County was to have the building completely restored before handing it over to the Village of Lyons. That became impractical after the grant problems so the County opted to deed the building over to the Village in its current state. The county would give the Village all the pre-construction designs prepared for the project before putting the restoration plans on hold.

During the Board meeting, a handful of Hotchkiss Building supporters were on hand to hear the fate of the project. Following the meeting they huddled around Wayne County Planning Director and building supporter Sharon Lilla who assured them the project is far from dead.

Lilla said she plans on applying for more grants in hopes of total restoration of the building to its 19th Century state, when the name Hotchkiss and Wayne County was synonymous with peppermint oil production. She said some grants could be transferred to the Village and others could be found.

The County Planning Director said she would be meeting with Lyons Village Mayor Corrine Kleisel and the Village Board to explain and decide on a path to follow.
Lilla said some of the grant money would come with stipulations that the Village upfront the money and be reimbursed through the grants once the work was completed. She suggested that perhaps “local lending” could be available for the Village.

Mayor Kleisel said she was disappointed with the County’s decision and said that the Village Board has proclaimed they would only take possession of the Hotchkiss Building as long as it did not cost the local taxpayers any money.

At the Village of Lyons meeting held on Tuesday night, the Board opted to consider the County’s offer of taking the building as-is at a workshop to be held Tuesday, February 1st.

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