Gossips got word last night that a building permit for a $1.2 million project has been issued for 900 Columbia Street. The project, of course, is the new facility that the Mental Health Association of Columbia-Greene Counties intends to build behind the historic house it now uses as a group home.
The proposal, presented to the Planning Commission in February 2011, involves getting rid of the historic house in order to create a parking lot on its footprint. Initially, the much protested plan was to demolish the early 19th-century building. Then in May 2012, the Galvan Initiatives Foundation announced its intention to acquire the house and move it to the 200 block of Union Street. At the same time, Galvan also announced its intention to move the Robert Taylor House to 23 Union Street.
The plan to move 900 Columbia Street was celebrated. Although its location was part of its historic significance, if the house remained in that location its fate was certain: it would be demolished. The proposed new location would put it in proximity to other buildings of similar design and of the same period.
The Historic Preservation Commission granted a certificate of appropriateness to the proposal to move 900 Columbia but denied one to the proposal to move the Robert Taylor House. Since May, Galvan appealed the HPC's decision about the Robert Taylor House to the Common Council, withdrew its appeal, resubmitted an application for a certificate of appropriateness to move the house, and then withdrew that, too. During the same time, however, there has been no definitive word from Galvan that their plans for 900 Columbia Street have changed.