A $700,000 stipend to restore the Niles-Barnard House is included in the 2019-20 proposed city budget. The initial bid for the renovations came in at $1.2 million.

A $700,000 stipend to restore the Niles-Barnard House is included in the 2019-20 proposed city budget. The initial bid for the renovations came in at $1.2 million.

File photo by Deb Jacques


Niles-Barnard House restoration at Troy historic village scaled down

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published April 24, 2019

 The Niles-Barnard House, built in 1837, was moved to the Troy Historic Village, a designated historical district, in 2010.

The Niles-Barnard House, built in 1837, was moved to the Troy Historic Village, a designated historical district, in 2010.

File photo by Deb Jacques

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TROY — Restoration work on the Niles-Barnard House will proceed on a smaller scale than an earlier estimate.

The Troy City Council, by consensus at an April 15 budget study session, slated $700,000 in the 2019-20 city budget for restorations at the historical home.

The Niles-Barnard House was donated to the city in 2005 and was moved to the grounds of the Troy Historic Village in 2010 — where it has since remained shuttered.

The city of Troy owns the land and the structures at the Troy Historic Village. The city maintains the buildings and grounds, and the Troy Historical Society runs and operates the village.

The Troy Historical Society funded the $874,142 cost for land acquisition, moving the home and the initial stabilization.

The city defunded the village in 2009 during the economic downturn. In 2007-08, the operating budget for the village, funded by the city, was $500,000. That shrank to $270,000 in 2008-09.

The original scope of the restorations included removal and replacement of wall finishes, widening of interior doorways, renovation of restrooms to be accessible to those with disabilities, installation of new kitchen cabinets and appliances for food prep, making the entrance accessible to those with disabilities, installation of two new staircases, and new plumbing, HVAC systems, wiring and outlets.

The bid for the work was $1.2 million.

The new scope of work includes an entrance accessible to those with disabilities, two new restrooms, refurbished existing walls and floors on the first floor, updates to the electrical system, and the closing off of the second floor.

Kurt Bovensiep, the director of public works for the city, described the work as bare bones and something that could be added onto later.

“This has been a decades-long project,” said Loraine Campbell, the executive director of the Troy Historic Village. “If we do minimal restoration, we will get minimal use.”

City Councilman Dave Henderson said that $1.2 million is twice the cost of what a new home would be. “The numbers don’t make sense to me,” he said.

“We’re trying to retrofit an older building,” Bovensiep said. “These walls are not square; they are not plumb.”

Bovensiep added that it’s hard to find a contractor willing to do that type of work.

“It’s a lot of money to spend if no one’s really happy with it,” said Mayor Pro Tem Ethan Baker.

Councilwoman Edna Abrahim said she does not want to postpone renovations on the home and that the council could add an amendment to the budget for more funding at a later date.

Campbell said the 2018-19 operating budget for the society is $480,000. The 2019-20 budget has not been finalized yet.

A public hearing on the 2019-20 and three-year city budgets is scheduled for May 6, after which the council will consider them for approval.

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