Catasauqua Borough Council said they received bids to restore three windows at the George Taylor House during the June 26 meeting. Three windows cost north of $50,000. There are 30 windows in the George Taylor House; the restoration cost would tax the readout capacity on a calculator, as well the borough’s wallet.
Councilman Brian Bartholomew suggested getting an expert in to look at replacing the windows rather than restoring. According to Bartholomew, the National Park Service allows historically correct reproduction windows. Marvin Windows has a division devoted to historically accurate windows at numbers far less than $17,000 each.
To be fair, the borough is using other people’s money to pay for the windows. According to Goldfeder, the grant specification said restore, not replace. Goldfeder was not sure the grant would allow a change. The project has been delayed so many times that Goldfeder fears another delay might nix the grant. Why the alternative to replace was not fully explored prior to the deadline was not addressed.
A motion was made to table the measure until the next council meeting. The delay would allow Goldfeder to check with the state and county to see if the grant could be changed. Bartholomew could get an expert in to assess the existing windows. Bartholomew and Councilman Eugene Schlegel voted to delay the decision but lost the battle.
In the ensuing discussion, Kroope intimated existing windows were original to the house which might be questionable, and George Taylor’s spirit is somehow embodied in the windows; replacement windows would no longer make it the George Taylor House, although she did not offer an alternate name.
Goldfeder had suggested a delay to the July council meeting, but this would cause an unreasonable delay for the contractors. The project must be complete by the end of September.
In the end, it’s other people’s money and, most likely, no hit to the borough budget. The highest cost option was approved 5-2 with Bartholomew and Schlegel voting no.