Bellefonte Historical and Cultural Association
Minutes of Past Meetings
Tuesday, May 28,
Location:Home of Gay & Jim Dunne, 222 N. Allegheny St., Bellefonte
Attendance: Keith Koch (president), Jim Dunne (Secretary), JoAnn & Dick Knupp, Sally Houser, True Fisher, Gay Dunne, Colina & Ralph Seeley, Nancy & Carl Miller, Jonathan Eburne, Patrick North, Melady Kehm, Nancy Perkins, Erin Hammerstedt (Preservation PA).
Garman Opera House:The entire meeting was devoted to discussion of the Garman Opera House
Keith has consulted a judge and a lawyer, both of whom recommended we get a lawyer, and have HBI involved because of the Garman covenant. If the developer is denied funding, our proposal should include reimbursing the Borough for a favorable comparison with Kervandjian’s proposal. JoAnn said that the $2million debt and tax liabilities on the Garman prevented a tax sale and bank foreclosure.
Keith checked with several people in the insurance business confirming that we could get no liability insurance until we actually started construction. The Borough has liability insurance until there is a new owner or the building is razed.
Erin discussed Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (1966) and passed out a brochure. Since there hasn’t been any public process on the Garman, DoDe and Cadillac buildings project as required by Section 106 we may have an argument to present to the judge. (The lack of adequate parking spaces for 32 units, not discussed this evening, is another argument. The developer has projected 18 spaces for 32 units.)
Structural engineers: Engineers for the IDA and BHCA both have concluded that the Garman is salvageable. The IDA report may not become public until approved by the IDA. Rehabilitation Investment Tax Credits (RITC) haven’t influenced the developer because the theater is a defining characteristic of the Garman and the space can’t be divided to comply with Dept. Of Interior requirements.
Jonathan listed our 3 options: request delay; press for compromise - retain the facade; acquisition. A small business loan will be difficult to obtain because of the default on previous loans on the Garman.
Patrick - We will likely lose unless we have a plan for all 3 buildings. Such a plan might attract other investors and give us community support.
There was agreement that we need a business plan. Erin recommended “Feasibility Assessment Manual for Reusing Historic Buildings” by Donovan Rypkema (Apr 1, 2007) as a guide. It is available at Amazon for $28.30.
We divided responsibilities.
Preservation PA website - www.preservationpa.org
Next Meeting: Friday, June 7, 6 PM at the home of Keith Koch. Picnic Dinner. Bring food to share.
Jim Dunne, secretary