Home » Collaboration leads to new railing

Collaboration leads to new railing

MILLERTON — The railing in front of the old M&T Bank, now home to Gilded Moon Framing, has been replaced, thanks to the collaborative effort of Townscape and the village of Millerton. The Village Board and Townscape worked on the project for roughly five months, and the result is a one-of-a-kind, hand-forged railing that will be as serviceable as it is lovely.“I feel very happy about it. I think it looks appropriate and solid,” said Townscape President Chris Kennan. “The old one lasted for at least 50 years and I hope this one will, too. If you take the $12,000 it cost and spread that over 50 years, then I think we got a pretty good deal.”Townscape, a volunteer group that makes improvements throughout the town, handled the leg work, while the Village Board reviewed the data and made the final decisions. The arrangement worked out well, according to Kennan, who said the board approached Townscape to see if it would help find an iron monger who could help replace the railing in front of the old bank.Millerton Mayor John Scutieri also praised the arrangement.“It went really smoothly,” he said. “In fact I have to give more credit to Townscape and Chris Kennan as chair for doing a lot more work than the Village Board. We went through the process of getting the funds and approving the style and color, but they really did the leg work and got the estimates and the iron monger. I’m really pleased with the outcome.”Kennan said Townscape talked to six different iron mongers before making a final recommendation.“Some were from farther away and some were closer,” he said. “We ended up recommending a guy in Sheffield, Mass., who had done a lot of work in municipal and public settings, and who gave us some very interesting designs.“I think the village was looking for something that met code,” Kennan added. “The old one was so far out of code it was a joke, but they also wanted something that would be attractive, but not over the top.”The iron monger who was chosen was John Graney, from Sheffield, Mass. He designed a rail that all agreed was just right for the village’s needs. The total price for the project was $12,000, and although it was not expected that Townscape would contribute to that cost, the group donated $2,000.“We weren’t asked to, but we decided we wanted to help pay for it as well,” Kennan said. “It did take a little longer than we initially thought, like most things do, but we kept the Village Board in the loop. We made sure they felt comfortable with the project — it was a very collaborative process.”The rail was installed during the second week of October. It was fabricated at Graney’s Massachusetts studio, painted with a high-tech automotive and chip-resistant paint, and then brought over in sections and installed within a few days’ time.Kennan said the whole project worked out well, and that he especially enjoyed working so closely with the Village Board.“As far as I’m concerned, it was a really good example of where a nonprofit can partner with local government,” he said. “The village didn’t have the time to do this kind of research and we didn’t have the resources to pay for the railing. Together we could get something done, and in today’s world it’s great when you can get something done.”Which is exactly why the mayor said the village and Townscape have already set their sights on another project — redoing the cement wall that sits in front of Saperstein’s and Gilded Moon, right where the new rail was installed. Though renovations lie far in the future, Scutieri said it’s never too early to plan.“Chris and I talked abut it, and we would like to make a park-like setting,” the mayor said, “to hopefully work on in the future.”He went on to explain why a group like Townscape is so valuable to a village like Millerton.“They can do things, like fundraise, that the village cannot do,” Scutieri said. “Plus, they’re focused on beautification, a small segment the Village Board always worries about [but cannot always address because it has to deal with so much more]. Plus, they help with lighting, safety, railings, flowers, holiday trees and lights — so many things that help the village. They’ve really become a key element in Millerton.”

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