A historic marker commemorating the westward settlement of the Seneca Indians will be unveiled later this month near the entrance of the Elma Town Museum.
Historical Society President Marlene Baumgartner told the Town Board this week she hopes the unveiling to recognize the role of the Indian nation in the development of the town will draw a big crowd “as we continue to preserve Elma’s historic past.”
The marker, Baumgartner said, is in the state colors of blue and gold and has information on the site of the Seneca Indian Village from 1780 to 1842. A dedication will be held at 2 p.m. Oct. 16 near the Jackman Park site of the Bowen Road museum. The event is open to the public.
Later in the board meeting, Baumgartner asked members to “hold off for a few weeks” on any permits to demolish the old Lee Mansion requested by the new owner of the 80-acre Camp Centerline until she hears from the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. She said the mansion was built in 1914 by Randolph Lee, who was an executive at Ford Motor Co. in Detroit. Henry Ford was a frequent visitor to the mansion and paid for the fence around the structure.
Dr. Patrick Carmody, of Bullis Road, a neighbor of the camp area, said he wanted the board to take an active role in whatever plans any new owner may have, as he and others don’t want to find out after the fact. He called the site “a pristine parcel,” and is concerned the new owner may be planning a senior apartment building or seasonal nursery. Another neighbor is concerned the mansion may be leveled so the new owner can build a private home.
There was no comment from Building Supervisor Joseph Colern.
Councilman Michael Nolan said the area is zoned residential, so a housing development could not be placed there without a zoning change approved by the Town Board.
Supervisor Dennis Powers told the residents, “You will know as soon as we know.”
Also at the Wednesday meeting:
• A public hearing held prior to the meeting on community block grant money resulted in the board agreeing to apply for an extension for the Rural Van Service, a cooperative endeavor with other nearby communities to take elderly residents to medical appointments and shopping. A second request will seek funds for a handicapped-access ramp for the Historical Society.
• Powers said grant writer Connie Minor was instrumental in obtaining two grants this year totaling $111,000.
The next town work session will be Wednesday. The October board meeting has been moved back a week, to Oct. 24.