His­toric Preser­va­tion Com­mis­sion hon­ors long­time chair­man

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Glenn Grif­fith ggrif­[email protected]­gian.com @cn­weekly on Twit­ter

CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. >> Peo­ple that love old homes know they present a com­fort­ing feel to an area, that they are frag­ile, and that they re­quire care. A vol­un­teer who leads an ap­pointed mu­nic­i­pal body that helps pre­serve such homes makes that per­son spe­cial.

On Mon­day the Clifton Park His­toric Preser­va­tion Com­mis­sion joined with the Town Board to honor its now-re­tired long­time chair­man Mark Kazmier­czak for his years of work strength­en­ing the Com­mis­sion’s place in the com­mu­nity, within town gov­ern­ment and mak­ing it a model for other mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to copy.

Kazmier­czak was chair­man from 2008 to 2015.

The town’s in­ter­est in preser­va­tion be­gan in 1975 when the Vis­cher Ferry His­toric Dis­trict was es­tab­lished and placed on the Na­tional Regis­ter of His­toric Places. Nearly 20 years later the Clifton Park His­toric Preser­va­tion Com­mis­sion was es­tab­lished.

An ar­chi­tect by trade and semi-re­tired at the time, Kazmier­czak joined the Com­mis­sion as a mem­ber in 2007 be­cause he liked old build­ings and be­lieved in pre­serv­ing them. He was qui­etly ap­pointed the chair­man of the Com­mis­sion by the Town Board mem­ber and li­ai­son to the Com­mis­sion Sandy Roth.

For the next seven years, Kazmier­czak reen­er­gized the Com­mis­sion and for­mal­ized how it op­er­ated. He made sure each meeting had an agenda, saw that min­utes were taken, gave it more of a pres­ence in the com­mu­nity, and ca­su­ally dis­cussed the value that its work gave to the com­mu­nity with ev­ery pub­lic of­fi­cial he could.

In the mean­time, he took a part-time po­si­tion in the town’s build­ing depart­ment where he kept an eye out for preser­va­tion pos­si­bil­i­ties.

At Mon­day’s meeting town his­to­rian John Scherer, an ad­vi­sory mem­ber of the Com­mis­sion, re­called Kazmier­czak’s work on its be­half.

“I re­mem­ber when Mark came to his first meeting, he was re­ally in­ter­ested. He re­ally got into these his­toric build­ings,” Scherer said. “And of course his knowl­edge as an ar­chi­tect was in­valu­able to the Com­mis­sion. We re­ally re­lied on his ex­per­tise in that area for a long time.”

Scherer re­called how Kazmier­czak made a pho­to­graphic file of the more than 300 his­toric homes in town and how that file formed the ba­sis for putting some of them on the town’s his­toric regis­ter.

“He is well de­serv­ing of the preser­va­tion award, and the Com­mis­sion is pleased to present it to him,” Scherer said.

He added that the Com­mis­sion, its mis­sion, and how it op­er­ates in con­junc­tion with the town is be­ing used as a model by the towns of Malta and Wil­ton.

“We have some­thing here that peo­ple are in­ter­ested in,” he said.

Scherer was joined by Su­per­vi­sor Philip Bar­rett in thank­ing Kazmier­czak for his years of ser­vice.

“We’re so pleased to have so many peo­ple who are in­ter­ested in this topic,” Bar­rett said. “It’s very im­por­tant to the town. Pre­serv­ing his­tory is some­thing we hold very dear.”

Coun­cil­man James Whalen, the cur­rent Town Board li­ai­son to the Com­mis­sion, de­scribed how Kazmier­czak helped make the or­ga­ni­za­tion a re­source for his­toric home­own­ers.

“The trust we have in Clifton Park is very col­lab­o­ra­tive and the Com­mis­sion and the town work with res­i­dents on the his­toric sig­nif­i­cance of their house, what the com­mis­sion does, and the ease­ment pro­gram that we have,” Whalen said. “There’s a reser­va­tion out there some­times with many res­i­dents. The Com­mis­sion wants to work with them and ed­u­cate them on what’s avail­able, and I think once we get over those hur­dles with home­own­ers it be­comes a very col­lab­o­ra­tive process.”

In ac­cept­ing the award Kazmier­czak gave his thanks to a num­ber of oth­ers who helped make the Com­mis­sion what it is to­day.

“I’m hon­ored to re­ceive this recog­ni­tion, but I first want to thank my wife, Mary, for her pa­tience dur­ing all the hours I spent on the com­puter putting things to­gether,” he said. “I also want to thank all those on the Com­mis­sion, their hus­bands, wives, whomever, for the hours and hours they put in on what­ever the pro­ject was and for al­low­ing them the time they spent on them.”

As part of his re­marks, Kazmier­czak made note also of the strong sup­port the Com­mis­sion has received from town of­fi­cials like Bar­rett, Whalen and town at­tor­ney Tom McCarthy.

“This award has all of their in­put plus that of the mem­bers of the Com­mis­sion. I thank you all for al­low­ing me to do this. I en­joyed it,” he said.

After­ward, he was asked how he had moved the Com­mis­sion to a more vis­i­ble place in the town.

“I saw all these old homes and asked if any­one had gone up to the front doors and spo­ken with the peo­ple liv­ing there and no one said they had so I de­cided to do it,” he said. “I just wanted to open a con­ver­sa­tion and show them we were there to help them with pre­serv­ing their homes if they wanted; that we would lis­ten.”

Asked what the one thing was he’d re­mem­ber most about be­ing chair­man, Kazmier­czak said it was get­ting new mem­bers to see the ben­e­fits of a col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort.

“I would tell them, the word to use is should, not must,” he said. “You’ve got to be rea­son­able.”


Mark Kazmier­czak, the re­tired chair­man of the Clifton Park His­toric Preser­va­tion Com­mis­sion, was hon­ored Mon­day by the Com­mis­sion and the Town Board for his work on be­half of the com­mu­nity.

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