With lure of grants, historic status sought for Millbrook Bridge

CLAVERACK–Ian Nitschke, chair of the town’s Historic Preservation Advisory Committee, requested last week that the Town Board consider putting the Millbrook Road Bridge on the National Register of Historic Places.

The concrete arch bridge has been closed for several years after it was deemed unsafe by the state. After the bridge had closed, drivers started using town property by the Highway Garage as an alternate route. Deputy Supervisor Bob Preusser had said earlier this year that a census done shows that an average of 40 vehicles use this alternate route daily. The town has been looking into options for replacing the bridge.

Mr. Nitschke has expressed his opposition to replacing the bridge at several board meetings, citing its historical value. He believes the bridge should be left alone or repaired, not replaced. But board members have stated that the cost of repairing the bridge far outweighs the cost of replacing it.

At the September 12 board meeting, Mr. Nitschke asked that the board support adding the bridge to the National Register. He said he’s looked into it, and the bridge qualifies.

“I’ve done the research. It’s relatively easy,” he said. “This will also allow us to get grants. You don’t have to do it tonight, but I’d like you to consider it.”

He acknowledged that the Millbrook Bridge is not as historic as the Shaw Bridge, which was added to the National Register in 1980, but he says it is still eligible. “It has historic and educational value at the very least,” he said.

Town Supervisor Robin Andrews said the board held a special meeting last month to discuss bids the town has received regarding replacing the Millbrook Bridge. But due to the need for a referendum and a 30-day time frame, the bids had to be rejected at that time.

Also at the September 12 board meeting:

Board member Katy Cashen said the Planning Board will hold a meeting September 30 at 6:30 p.m. on the impact of the Big Up music festival last month. She said the board will review the events that took place, listen to feedback from the public and hear reports from the various agencies that were involved. The meeting, which will be at Town Hall, was a requirement for approval of the festival’s permit. Public comments will be limited to three minutes each.

Supervisor Andrews said that the town is close to a deal with the Village of Philmont to use Philmont Police for court security. She said the municipalities have come up with a mutual aid agreement, but have not yet come to terms on the rate.

The board designated October Bullying Awareness Month.

Supervisor Andrews said there will be a parade October 6 to celebrate the Town of Claverack’s 225th anniversary. It will begin on upper Main Street in Philmont at 1 p.m. A cake bake-off will immediately follow at the Claverack Town Park. There is a need for vehicles in the parade, and a need for donations for refreshments after the parade.



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