Last minute pleas by two residents Monday night were not enough to convince the commissioners to spare the , as the motion to demolish the barn passed 5-1, with Commissioner Preston Shimer opposing it and Commissioner Robert Orchowski absent.
Kristen Perryman said she feels demolishing the barn is in stark contrast to what children are learning in school about recycling and reusing what we have.
“This is something that has survived the times—100 years. Once you take history away, it is gone forever. I think that maybe we should allow our next generation to make that decision,” Perryman said.
“People want stories, and you can’t build new stories. That barn has a lot of stories.”
The barn was recently evaluated for several different uses, but .
Commissioner Glenn Dandoy said even if the township had the money, he is not convinced investing it in the barn would be the best decision.
“I jokingly said at the last meeting that if we had $5 million we could go ahead and remodel the barn. But I thought about it on the way here, and even if we did have the money I don’t know that I would vote for that because I’m not sure if it would be the responsible thing to take $5 million and put into that structure,” Dandoy said.
He went on to say that the history of the barn and the farm only support his decision to have it demolished. At a presentation he learned that labor on the farm was done mostly by Mayview State Hospital residents who found themselves there because they had no home and we compensated little to nothing for the work they performed.
“We have not yet and we probably will never have taken the use of the barn to the private sector. That is the commercial and real estate development sector, the folks who could come forward to the township with a recommendation to use the barn for a variety of purposes,” Shimer said.
According to Shimer, in his eight years on the board they have always gone to the market, even if it only involved a dump truck to determine its value. Fellow commissioner Daniel Paoly disagreed that there was any value in it though, stating that if it were privately owned it would have been condemned and torn down at this point.
Township Manager Matthew Serakowski was not able to put an exact timeline on the demolition, but said there would be nothing done until sometime after the first of the year.
Composting Toilets Loan
In other news relating to Boyce Mayview Park, the board considered a request from to forgive a debt of $47,267. for the construction of two composting toilets.
The board considered several options, including forgiving the debt, forgiving 30 percent of the debt, refinancing the debt or leaving the payment schedule as it was.
Shimer was in favor of forgiving the full amount because he said it is not a fair burden for the group when taking into consideration the various groups that benefit from the facilities.
Jacob Ross, a 13-year-old who frequents the park, though, questioned if it is really a benefit, or a problem.
“I go there quite often and prefer to avoid the toilets. I find it an atrocity, it smells horrible and quite honestly don’t go while I’m there. It is just an absolute mess. I can’t think of a better word. I’d like to see it cleaned up,” Ross said.
Serakowski explained the current conditions are a result of little use due to the time of year, since a composting toilet works best when being used on a regular basis.
Ultimately, the board voted 5-1 to forgive 30 percent of the loan with the stipulation that The Outdoor Classroom ensures it is properly maintained and is sanitary for parkgoers. Commissioner Paoly opposed the vote.
What are your thoughts on the vote to demolish the Mayview Barn? How about the decision to forgive 30 percent of The Outdoor Classroom's composting toilets loan? Tell us in the comments.