Historical features of Beech-Nut to be saved

FONDA — While it appears not much is happening in the ways of a cleanup at the former Beech-Nut site in Canajoharie, the process is slowly moving forward and historic architectural features preserved and incorporated into any future use of the site.

Ken Rose, CEO and director of Montgomery County Business Development Center, appeared before the Montgomery County Legislature on Tuesday to answer any questions regarding pending legislative action in relation to the site, noting a letter of resolution was needed between the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the Empire State Development, Montgomery County and the village of Canajoharie in order to move onto the next step of cleanup.

“To update you in relation to what the [state Historic Preservation Office] is requiring, with regards to delaying work on the eastern side of the [Beech-Nut] site,” Rose said. “In order to get that final approval from the state Historic Preservation Office, we need to actually go in there and start doing some work, and they require [a] letter of resolution.”

Rose said what the resolution does is it allows SHPO to have some say in the clean up of the eastern side of the Beech-Nut site. He said they are usually involved in any project that could have an impact on the historic significance of a site, such as Beech-Nut.

He explained SHPO has to do an archeological investigation and Montgomery County would have to provide them with a report and possible documentation of anything with potential historical significance.

One of the stipulations of the resolution is Montgomery County will salvage select historic building materials for reuse and/or display; identify any significant architectural features to be removed from the historic buildings; and retention of the Warren Truss access bridge that crosses the Canajoharie Creek.

“Salvaged architectural features may be incorporated within the new building, used for an on-site historical display, or donated to a local non-profit historical society or architectural salvage group,” the resolution states. “The Warren Truss access bridge that crosses the Canajoharie Creek and enters Building 57 will be retained and incorporated into any new development of the site.”

He said the passing of the resolution was not holding up the project, but a part of the process.

“We are still waiting on the [state] grant [in order to start actual clean up,]” said Rose.

He said they wanted to also preserve the railroad that runs adjacent to Route 5S.

“This does not yet give us clearance to do any work yet on the western side [either],” Rose said.

The resolution was passed on to the full board.

Other items discussed during the meeting include a resolution amending the 2018 operating budget — and account clerk typist position transfer.

According to the resolution, the position of the account clerk typist was eliminated from the Public Health budget and placed in the Youth Department budget in 2018. The position has been located in the personnel office since the beginning of 2018. The account clerk typist will assist the personnel office in alleviating responsibilities from the staff that falls outside the scope of their duties.

“This is going from the public health budget into the youth department budget because the person has been performing the duty in that department already,” said District 9 Legislator Michael Pepe.

“The position was adopted in the youth budget and this is transferring the funding that position was not filled in the position, so it’s transferring that position to personnel department,” said county treasurer Shawn Bowerman.

District 6 Legislator John Duchessi said he supported the resolution.

The resolution was carried to full board.