CALDWELL, NJ — As the Caldwell Historical Preservation Commission chairperson Bob Kaplan presented his annual report to the borough mayor and council on Tuesday, he said members of the commission have worked hard to preserve many local historical locations in town throughout the year.
“We had such a good year, and it was an unusually active year for us,” said Kaplan.
According to Kaplan, one of the major accomplishments in 2016 was sending a recommendation to the council to designate the Caldwell Library as a Historical Landmark. Kaplan thanked the mayor and council for their support on this request and all other projects that the commission took part in this past year.
“Councilman Richard Hauser was an excellent liaison to the board and he attended almost all of our meetings,” he said. “This year was very much a learning experience for all of us and we learned a lot about this process.”
The historical preservation commission also worked with various property owners in order to help restore local historical buildings. Kaplan explained that he was contacted by a homeowner on Arlington Avenue who was interested in learning more about the home’s history.
Members were not only able to provide the current homeowners with information on the original owners, but also provided the owner with advice on how to restore the architecture to its original style.
“I think it is important to point out that this type of assistance would’ve probably cost them around $5000 if they had decided to hire someone to do this,” said Kaplan.
Currently, Kaplan said the commission is discussing ways to prevent the Motor Branch Bank building from being demolished as well as a building located on Smull Avenue. He said both have historical significance in Caldwell and that the commission is hoping to prevent them from being destroyed.
Going forward, the Historical Preservation is hoping to designate a new historical landmark in town each year now that they have learned the process.
They are also interested in updating the 1986 Historic Survey of Caldwell, which Kaplan said is greatly outdated.
However, because the commission has never had a budget, many projects may not be possible.
Caldwell Mayor Ann Dassing asked Kaplan to submit to her the cost of the historical survey as well as other projects they wish to do so she and the council could discuss a potential budget.