Jonathan Apple figures in Comeau Historic bid

State officials may be close to determining if Woodstock’s Comeau town offices are eligible to apply for historic status. State historic recognition could have a major impact on a planned $2.9 million renovation of the town offices and nearby Supervisor’s Cottage. On November 2, voters approved a $1 million borrowing by bond issue. The rest of the money will come from a capital reserve fund.

But the state can provide renovation funds for buildings with historic status. And the State Historic Preservation Office can provide technical assistance not just on buildings, but entire properties, cosidering issues such as viewshed and landscaping.

In the meantime, Councilman and Town Historian Richard Heppner has been gathering and sending more information about a connection to farmer Phillip Rick, who developed the Jonathan Apple. He has been in discussions with Chelsea Towers, historic preservation analyst at the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. “I’m waiting for the Ulster County archives to send me a couple more things because it appears we have found a link in the old deeds back into the 1800s, so there’s a lot of work going on,” Heppner said at the November 23 Town Board meeting. “So the main thing right now, the whole conversation, was to focus on the building and the property.”

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Heppner said he had sent photographs of the interior and exterior.

Michael Veitch, who has been critical of the project, proposed a public meeting where state historic preservation officials can answer questions. “Sharing as much information with the public, getting the public support behind this would be a really good thing, too,” Veitch said.

Heppner agreed it would be a good idea, but after the state has looked at the information.

“I’ve sent them about 30 photographs. I sent them a whole bunch of documents. Let’s pull all this stuff together and see where they are.”