In February, Gossips discovered that the Mental Health Association of Columbia-Greene Counties planned to demolish 900 Columbia Street. A petition was created, asking MHA to reconsider, and within a few weeks, it had 658 signatures.
In March, shortly after the petition had been delivered to MHA executive director Jeffrey Rovitz and the MHA board, an ad hoc committee of advocates for the building, made up of Timothy Dunleavy, Jane Smith, David Marston, and me, met with Rovitz and Susan Cody, who directs MHA's residential division. Although the meeting was amicable, all our subsequent suggestions for how MHA could accomplish its goal without demolishing a pre-1835 house were dismissed as not possible. In response to the negativity, we suggested that perhaps, since the funding for the project was coming from the New York State Office of Mental Health, MHA needed to speak with someone at the State Historic Preservation Office to learn about their obligations under the State Historic Preservation Act of 1980.
Since April, the discussion and investigation that will decide the fate of 900 Columbia Street are being carried out at the state level. The latest word is that SHPO has issued a statement that 900 Columbia Street appears to be eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places and a review of the project is currently underway. There is no indication at this point of what the outcome will be.