Members of the task force who have been meeting to develop ideas for preserving and utilizing the Traphagen House and surrounding property in West Nyack got a positive response from the Clarkstown Town Board on Tuesday. Historic preservationists had appeared before the board last year and shared their concerns the Traphagen House could fall into disrepair and suffer the same fate as the Teaberry Port House on Strawtown Road also in West Nyack. They spoke to the board about their efforts over the past four months.
Councilwoman Stephanie Hausner who is the community liaison on the task force said they have been meeting twice monthly and have spoken with restoration experts about maintaining the house. The New York State Office of Parks & Preservation sent a letter about the house’s historical significance. She said several members brought up the request of turning the entire town-owned nine-acre site into parkland. The parcel, which includes the 1729 Vanderbilt House and 1820 Traphagen House, is located on Germonds Road and adjacent to Germonds Park.
“There was a desire by the group last night for the town board to deem all nine acres parkland,” said Hausner.
Proposals to use the historic site more actively included holding a winter festival on the property or opening up a museum or restaurant through a private/public partnership. Heritage West Nyack submitted a letter outlining numerous potential uses.
Hausner said one of the more immediate possibilities came from two New City residents who want to establish a community garden similar to what exists in Nyack. They were asked to put a proposal together specifying how much property would be needed and who would organize the garden. Hausner said she is meeting with them next week.
“I’m excited we’re moving forward with the community garden idea,” she said.
The house’s roof has two holes, which will be repaired by the town. The town received architectural plans from Peggy Vanderbilt Handelsman and Bonnie Vanderbilt. The plans had been drawn up in 1978 to restore the house to its original condition but the work never took place.
Clare Sheridan, the county Historical Society Board of Trustees president, also felt positive about the presentation.
“While no official decisions were made, there was general support from all five board members and a request from them to the task force to continue to explore ways to utilize this parcel,” she noted.
“The town board committed money to restoration of the house,” said Hausner. “An exact dollar amount was not committed.”
The task force will meet again within the next two weeks.
“We have a lot of ideas and now have to flush out a plan to present to the entire town board,” said Hausner.
The task force includes members of the Historical Society of Rockland County board, Heritage of West Nyack and Clarkstown Historical Review Board. They gained support from town and county residents and others from Bergen County, NJ.