Kinderhook village honored by first lady

KINDERHOOK — The village was designated this month as a 2011 Preserve America Community. The designation is a federal honor recognizing a community’s accomplishments in preserving its heritage.

Village Mayor Carol Weaver said in an interview with The Columbia Paper that Warren Applegate, a member of the village Economic Development Committee, and Ruth Piwonka, the village historian, applied for the designation, which does not include any new money for the community. But the village will receive a street sign and a letter of recognition from First Lady Michelle Obama. 

“President Obama and I want to congratulate all of the Preserve America Communities and thank them for their commitment to protection and strengthening American’s cultural and natural heritage,” Mrs. Obama said in a press release.

According to the release, The Preserve America program became an authorized part of the National Historic Preservation Program in 2009, when President Obama signed the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009. Over 850 communities have won the designation since then.

Mayor Weaver said they are waiting for the road sign that announces to visitors the village’s federal designation. When it comes, she plans to have a ceremony.

“It will help with bringing people to the village,” she said of the award. She mentioned the village is applying for state grants to help fund the cost of hooking up buildings in the business district to the sewer system that serves the neighboring Village of Valatie. Kinderhook village officials are also applying for a matching grant to make repairs at Village Hall.

“I wish we’d known [about the award] before we sent out those grants,” she said, but since the information about the designation is online she’s hoping the state will notice.

As for the sewer project, which would mean hooking up 35 buildings in the center of the village to the Valatie sewer system, Ms. Weaver said the board is moving forward with that project. “We’re waiting for new figures,” she said of the cost.

At their October board meeting, village trustees talked about the project costing over $700,000. All residents in the village would have to pay a $32.50 on their water and sewer bills to cover the cost of the project.

Ms. Weaver said the village should hear about the state grants in December. The next regular board meeting will be Wednesday, December 14 at 7 p.m. at Village Hall.

There was no cost for the Preserve America Communities program application. Mr. Applegate volunteered his time, as did the other members to the Economic Development Committee, Ms. Weaver said.

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