Get the Schoolcraft House off the backs of Guilderland taxpayers
To the Editor:
Your full-page article on page 8 of The Enterprise on Oct.10, 2013 [online at www.altamontenterprise.com] was not complete.
It should have read about 20 years and $500,000-plus and still not open to the public. This travesty of historical nonsense was piled upon the taxpayers of the town of Guilderland so that Miss Begley could have an office (read her interview when asked in 1994 about how she felt now that Anne Rose signed the check).
I personally begged every town supervisor up to and including Mr. [Kenneth] Runion to sell the Schoolcraft House to the historical society for a dollar and get it off the backs of the Guilderland taxpayers.
So now Miss Begley did not get an office but she got to publish a book on sale for $14.95 that the town of Guilderland taxpayers paid a half-a-million dollars for.
Editor’s note: The Schoolcraft House was purchased in 1994 for $140,000. Guilderland paid half of that and the other $70,000 was covered by a state grant; the town covered the closing costs.
Then, in 1997, the house restoration project received another grant, of $29,000, which was also matched for a total of $58,000.
The Schoolcraft project later received a $50,000 member item grant from then-Assemblyman John McEneny, according to Supervisor Kenneth Runion. He also said applications were made for grants in 2001 (for $52,000), in 2002 (for $100,000), and in 2003 (for $119,000) but these were not received.
“Over the years, in the winter months, if park employees aren’t busy, they may spend a few hours there,” said Runion. “It’s infill for their normal jobs.”
The Friends of the Schoolcraft House have hosted many fund-raisers over the years, including, for example, the sale of commemorative bricks, which raised over $7,000.
Hence, the amount spent by Guilderland on the Schoolcraft project over two decades is about $99,000; the total spent by the state and town combined is $248,000.