The in West Nyack continues to deteriorate, even as members of the Clarkstown Historical Review Board (HRB) try to find funding to stabilize it.
Stephen Papas, Jason Vogel and James Palmer told town board members on Tuesday although they would like to get funds to renovate the aging house, currently they are concentrating their efforts to find grants to stabilize the building which has holes in a wall adjacent to the chimney. Town officials said they would contact United Water, the owner of the property, to discuss the building’s condition and look into possible options for restoring it.
The house is owned by United Water, which according to HRB members should be held responsible for maintaining the house. They said the utility has refused to spend money to salvage the building saying that it is exempt from the law and is not permitted to spend ratepayer money for that purpose. They pointed out that United Water recently installed a fence around the property on Strawtown Road.
Vogel told the board that the HRB approached between 20 and 30 nonprofits about using the house, however they backed away upon learning that restoration could cost up to $500,000. United Water claims it can only rent the house to a nonprofit organization not an individual. Vogel said several people have approached the HRB who are interested in fixing up the structure, which dates from 1780, and living in it.
“We continued looking at other solutions,” Vogel said.
Papas explained they inquired about getting state or federal funding and private grants to renovate the house but some of those sources were no longer available or Teaberry Port did not meet their criteria. He said Rockland BOCES was also approached in the hopes that their construction trade students could undertake the project. He asked the town board to help with their efforts to save the house.
When Town Attorney Amy Mele asked what the estimated cost would be to stop the house from falling into worse condition, she was told the purchase of a tarp would be necessary.
Mele said one option for raising funds would be to designate the town’s account with the Rockland Community Foundation for the Teaberry Port House and ask donors to contribute toward its restoration. Papas said HRB members would be willing to spearhead a fundraising effort with the town.
Town Supervisor Alex Gromack said the town will contact United Water to discuss repairing the building and will research what legal authority it has to require United Water to take action.