Sunday, June 14, 2020

News of the Historic Church

The designation of the former Shiloh Baptist Church at 241 Columbia Street as a local landmark has become something of a cause célèbre, with advocates for its designation seeing it as the centerpiece of a progressive, re-imagined Hudson.

The proposal to designate the building first came before the Historic Preservation Commission in early February. A public hearing on the designation, which was meant in part to "capture anecdotes of people's memories" of the building and its history, began on February 28. Because HPC meetings were not considered essential and were not permitted during the City's initial response to the pandemic, the public hearing was suspended for two months. When it resumed on May 22, the current owner of the building, Victoria Milne, protested "the extraordinary financial burden with historic preservation," told the HPC she anticipated a time "when you are all replaced by local mad tyrants," and promised, "I am going to restore the building as best I can to bring it back to the original, but if it is designated, I will sell it."

At the end of the public hearing on May 22, the period for receiving written comments on the designation was extended for ten days. The public comment period is now over, and this past Friday, the HPC agreed that it would discuss the designation of 241 Columbia Street and make a determination at its meeting on Friday, July 10. In the meantime, Paul Barrett, historian member of the HPC, will be vetting some of the claims that have been made about the history of the building.

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