Be careful what you approve at the Village Board meeting

Or you might be in the shoes of two trustees of the Village of Walton, who have been making public apologies about the demolition of the Townsend Hose Company -- the Walton Hose Company #4 building at 87 Mead St. -- on August 17. That's the week of the Delaware County Fair, which is held in Walton -- probably not the best time and place to destroy a beloved local landmark.

The Daily Star had the story last week:

Walton Mayor Ed Snow said the Walton Village Board agreed unanimously to raze the building to make way for a new police station, but two of the board members say they only approved blueprints for a proposed project.

Those trustees, Patrick G. Meredith and Andrew D. Rutherford, had took out an ad in last week's Walton Reporter to explain the unexpected demolition to the community. (It's print-only, so we retyped it here):

At the last village board meeting, we believed that our votes were to accept a proposed set of blueprints for a new police station. Perhaps we were misinformed, but we felt confient that our board would not proceed with destroying one of our village's historic buildings until a time for public input had been provided. We feel this was a hasty action and is, therefore unfair to Walton Village taxpayers and community organizations. Speaking solely for ourselves, we are truly sorry that what has been done cannot be undone.

Let's go to the meeting minutes, shall we? The notes from the August 2, 2010 meeting of the Walton Village Board are online, and we've re-posted them below for easy perusal.

According to that document (on page 2), the issue of the new police station was considered briefly:

NEW POLICE STATION: Preliminary site plans for a new police station were submitted to the Board. Andrew Rutherford made a motion to approve the 87 Mead St. site as the location for the new police station. Teresa O'Leary seconded. Carried unanimously.

From that account, it seems like the Board unanimously "approved the ... location," which understandably could be interpreted as "go ahead, tear down the building." But it could also be interpreted as a bunch of other things. Clearly, there need to be some more hoops to jump through before an historic building gets the axe. 

Village of Walton Village Board meeting minutes, August 2, 2010