Archeological survey delays town hall/library building project vote by up to two months

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:56

    MONROE-The referendum on the proposed $12.8 million Town Hall/Library building project that had been scheduled for March 16 has been postponed as a survey is done to determine if the property is archeologically sensitive. The vote could be delayed for up to two months. Supervisor Sandy Leonard said this week that the state Historic Preservation Office has identified the property n located between Route 208 and 17M - as being in close proximity to other "archeo sensitive areas." Such a determination requires a Phase 1 Archeological Survey. "I don't know the specific sites," Leonard said, "simply that there are two archeologically sensitive sites in the nearby vicinity - within 3/10th of a mile." The state Historic Preservation office describes a Phase 1 survey as one "designed to determine the presence or absence of cultural resources in the project's potential impact area." It involves both a literature search and a field investigation. City Scapes of White Plains will perform the survey at a cost of $1,200. Town Engineer Alfred Fusco noted the possibility of ancillary costs but the total "would not exceed $2,000." According to the state's Web site, "If no cultural resources are discovered, the survey process is completed after Phase 1. If resources are discovered as a result of this survey, modifications to the proposed project may be made to avoid or minimize potential impacts. If resources ... cannot be readily avoided, then additional examination is needed to establish the significance of the resource." Town Historian Jim Nelson said that there is possibly an Indian burial ground nearby that he's heard about but he never went digging there himself. The property "was farm land for a very long time," Nelson said. "Roscoe Smith bought it in the late 1920's. The lakes were built in 1906 or 1907 to cool machinery at the plant. "I don't really think that there is anything of significance there," he added. "There has been a lot of soil removed over the years. Anything that may have been there is probably long gone." When asked about this delay, Library Director Marilyn MacIntosh said: "It is a little disappointing because we had put a date on the referendum and we would like to hold to it. Of course, it's better to deal with this now than have it come up after the project is underway. I hope the public understands that we are trying to do everything the right way." Leonard said she anticipate the survey will be done in the month of February, but the work will depend on the weather. The property, like most everywhere else, is snow-covered.