LITTLE VALLEY — Citizens Advocating Memorial Preservation (C.A.M.P.) is moving forward with plans to preserve the Civil War Memorial and Historic Building in Little Valley.
The group was formed late last year as the Cattaraugus County Legislature endorsed plans to remove asbestos from the 100-year-old memorial, the first step toward its demolition.
Group members attended the Legislature’s reorganization meeting Wednesday, updating individual legislators on their efforts to secure grant funding for a feasibility study on preserving the Court Street building, located across from the Cattaraugus County Center.
One C.A.M.P. member, John Stengel of Cuba, dressed in a Union Civil War uniform and was offered an opportunity to address the lawmakers.
“I’m here as a symbol of the Civil War soldier to express the hope the memorial will be preserved,” he said.
C.A.M.P. President Tom Stetz of Allegany said the group submitted a grant application to the Landmark Society of Western New York on Friday to pay for a feasibility condition report by Clinton Brown Company Architecture, Buffalo. The report will include preservation options and recommendations.
The recommendations could include stabilizing the building and mothballing it until potential funding sources and uses are identified.
County lawmakers had set aside $175,000 to demolish the Memorial and Historic Building and the adjoining former Cattaraugus County Board of Elections building.
The Landmark Society, which has called the Memorial an historical building worthy of preservation, is expected to have an answer on the grant before the end of the month, Mr. Stetz said.
C.A.M.P. received letters of support for the grant from State Sen. Catharine Young of Olean and Assemblyman Joe Giglio of Gowanda, as well as the Buffalo chapter of Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, successor organization to the Grand Army of the Republic, Mr. Stetz said.
In addition, he said, Mel Duggan, owner of Duggan and Duggan General Contractors of Allegany, has offered to look over the building and give his opinion to the group.
C.A.M.P. is also circulating petitions seeking preservation and restoration of the memorial, Mr. Stetz said. The group has about 30 members, many of whom are descendents of Civil War soldiers from the 154th New York Regiment from Cattaraugus County. About 10 members still reside in Cattaraugus County.
Mr. Stetz said county lawmakers appear willing to consider transferring ownership of the building, which until 10 years ago served as the Cattaraugus County Museum for many years.
He hopes to address members of the Legislature’s Public Works Committee to update them on C.A.M.P.’s efforts when the committee meets Feb. 4.
“It sounds like they’re giving us a window of opportunity,” he said.
The committee had sought bids for asbestos abatement of the memorial but took no action when bids came in higher than anticipated. Mr. Stetz said C.A.M.P. would like the asbestos abatement done in such a way as to preserve as much of the building as possible.
(Contact reporter Rick Miller at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)