Saugerties drops plans to buy Opus 40
7/15/11 - 6:42 pm
Photo of bluestone sculpture at Opus 40 in Saugerties by Flickr user Insignifica. Published under Creative Commons license.
In the Daily Freeman today: A letter from the supervisor of Saugerties announced today that the town is pulling out of an effort to buy Opus 40, the legendary homestead and life's work of bluestone sculptor Harvey Fite.
The town had been trying since last year to find a way to buy the bluestone sculpture park on Fite Road and make it a public venue, and a non-profit corporation called the Committee to Create Opus 40 Museum was formed to work with the town to turn Opus 40 and its assets into a museum chartered by the state Board of Regents.
[Supervisor Greg] Helsmoortel’s letter states the town’s decision to withdraw acceptance of the $400,000 state Environmental Protection Fund grant and no longer seek ownership of Opus 40 was made after consulting with the Committee to Create Opus 40 Museum.
The Freeman's story cites political pressure from opponents of the plan, who have been critical of town spending on the effort to purchase the property.
In his letter, Helsmoortel writes that the effort to preserve the historic site as a public museum will continue:
The [Committee to Create Opus 40 Museum] wants to work free of controversy for this extremely worthwhile project that has benefited Saugerties in the past and will continue to benefit Saugerties even greater with increased planned exposure.
Opus 40, which Fite worked on perpetually for 37 years before his accidental death in 1976, is currently run and maintained by Fite's stepson Tad Richards. Last spring, Richards put the property on the market for a cool $3.5 million. But Helsmoortel wrote in an op-ed in the Saugerties Times this spring that the listing, and $3.5 million figure, were based on a misunderstanding of the law:
That was the family’s estimate based on an assumption that the property could be sold, but actually a non-profit corporation (which Opus 40 Inc. is) cannot sell its assets.
The town's Historic Preservation Commission is currently weighing a proposal to give Fite's studio and the Quarryman's Museum, both on the grounds of Opus 40, a historic designation. On Monday, the commission will be speaking with local artists about the significance of Opus 40:
In order to allow public input before the official August 15 public hearing the commission will hold an informational “conversation” at its regular meeting on Monday, July 18 at 7:30 p.m. in the Town Hall’s Building Department Conference Room, when it hopes to hear from artists, sculptors, architects, landscapers and others who have long appreciated the intrinsic strength, color, texture and density characteristic of bluestone which is native to Saugerties.
|FALL SALE – MENDOTA GAS FIREPLACES AND FIRE PLACE INSERTS|
|September ENVIRO Sale|
|25th Anniversary Flyer!|
|Product Protection Plans are now available at The Catalog Outlet!|
|Outdoor Adventures in Delhi|
|A little is a LOT! 5.16 acres of seclusion|
|Art Opening 9/27 at Tay Home's Art Barn -- Steve Burnett|
|Flavors of Fall|
|BBQ Lunch honoring Shandaken's Parks & Playgrounds|
|Woodsmen's Festival at Hanford Mills Museum Oct. 4|
|“Planting Wildness: Finding Roots in Delaware County”: An Interdisciplinary Exhibit by Bertha Rogers at Hanford Mills Museum|
|Cook with the Royal Bride at Hanford Mills Museum|
|SALE:Catskill Mountain Artisans Guild|
|Community Needs Assessment Survey Available to Hudson Valley Residents|
|HealthAlliance Foundation Brings Back Cruisin’ for the Cure|
|Spillian Sundays: Voices from the Catskills | Elly Wininger, October 5|
|Trail U: FREE Intro to Map & Compass Navigation, Sunday, Sept. 14|
|9.20-BREWED IN AMERICA OKTOBERFEST-2pm to 6pm-ANDES HOTEL|
|Wild Food Foraging - Sunday, Oct. 5|
|Las Cafeteras - Saturday, Oct. 4|
|Chiara String Quartet - Saturday, Sept. 28|
|Suzy Bogguss at the West Kortright Centre - Sunday, Sept. 14|
|Save the date! Delaware Phoenix Distillery Absinthe Tasting!|
|Post Labor Day THANK YOU!|
|Tasting today and a BLAST of ROXBURY!|
|The Foliage Seeker's Cycling Getaway|
|Enchanting cottage vacation rental w/hot tub in farm country, 15 mins to trendy Hudson|
|The Arc is hiring! Director of Finance|
|The Arc is hiring! Assistant Program Director - Life Coach 12|
|The Arc is hiring: Life Coach 10, Supervisor|