I have spoken before this committee and the Planning Board at prior meetings regarding the incidental finding of the possibility of artifacts of the 1869 Ricalton Schoolhouse and Town Hall in the crawl space of the existing Post Office building, due to notes found on the 1956 plans. So by now you are all well aware of this.
Tonight I would like to update you on where we are in this process.
There is positive news- a very positive development.
We have met with Joe Forgione of JMF properties and a member of his construction team on site at the Post Office and walked through to observe the location of the access to the crawl space, as is indicated on the plans. Mr. Forgione is committed to investigating the crawl space prior to commencing demolition. He is committed to working with the Maplewood community on this.
I have provided Mr. Forgione with copies of the 1956 Post Office plans- including the site plan and basement plan with indicated demolition and preservation notes. We have also explained to him that there may be nothing at all in the crawl space…or…conversely something of interest to the community – a link to our history.
We have set a tentative time line with Mr. Forgione related to his anticipated calendar for commencing construction. As such, there is a small window of time to proceed with this investigation. We have notified the Historic Preservation Commission and expressed to them that Mr. Forgione is committed to working with them and the Township on this investigation. As such, we feel it is important and prudent that HPC representatives, with their expertise, be involved and actually be at the site when access to the crawl space is opened up and investigation commences.
We look to you, the Township Committee, as those who have appointed the Historic Preservation Commission members, to encourage them to move forward with us- indeed, to take the lead on this investigation. We are asking you to do this in a timely manner.