Press-Republican

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February 20, 2011

Local historic community fights to preserve stone barracks

Community members hope barracks plan not set in stone

(Continued)

PLATTSBURGH — "It's frustrating to see it go at white-elephant prices because we don't see it as a white elephant," Miller said at Friday's meeting.

During the nearly two-hour meeting, which was organized by Clinton County Historian Anastasia Pratt, many said concerned groups need to band together to stop the deal.

"Preservation of that building should be the goal, not development," said Ron Allen, Town of Peru historian.

"That is one of our most historic buildings and to lose it to a Canadian developer is absolutely tragic."

Steven Engelhart, executive director of Adirondack Architectural Heritage, said Schneider should have come to the community first to ask for ideas before putting together a preliminary plan for apartments.

"He should done it the other way around and asked us first, before hiring an architect," Engelhart said.

Ann Cousins of Richmond, Vt., said the barracks is more than just a local treasure.

"This building has national significance and that is why I am here," Cousins said.

There were brief moments of tension during the meeting as blame for the pending sale was pointed at several parties.

"It's OK if this gets emotional because that means that people care about it," Engelhart said.

Pratt said communication is the key.

"As a historical community who cares about history and culture we need to talk to each other better," she said.

Pratt and Engelhart will compile the group's concerns and distribute them to local planning and zoning boards, the State Office of Historic Preservation, Department of Environmental Conservation and to any other concerned parties.

"All we can do now is stop the project," Engelhart said.

"We need to use every venue we can to speak up about this and let people know."

E-mail Joe LoTemplio at: jlotemplio@pressrepublican.com

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