News from the Lincoln Depot Foundation on a new appointment to its Board of Directors.
The Lincoln Depot Foundation announces the addition of the Honorable Catherine E. Pisani to their Board of Directors. The present board members elected Pisani at their February 12th Annual Meeting.
Catherine Pisani, a lifelong Peekskill resident, has had a lifetime of community involvement and experience in local government and volunteerism. She was a member of the Peekskill Common Council for sixteen years, spending much of that time as Deputy Mayor and recently retiring from the Peekskill City School District after thirty-six years of teaching. She presently serves on the Hudson Valley Hospital Center’s Foundation, The Lincoln Society in Peekskill and the Executive Committee of the Retired Teachers for the Peekskill Faculty Association.
Previously, Pisani served on the City of Peekskill Industrial Development Agency, Youth Board and Human Relations Commission. She was also a past board member for the Paramount Center for the Arts.
“Cathy is an outstanding choice for our organization,” stated Depot Foundation President John G. Testa. “She has been a long-time member and contributor to the Lincoln Society in Peekskill and the community at large and has been fully involved in preserving the history of Peekskill. Serving as Deputy Mayor when I was the Mayor of Peekskill Cathy was a stanch supporter of the Lincoln Depot project and was with me every step of the way from acquiring the property, obtaining the funding to developing the vision. She will be an invaluable asset as we move into the next phase of the project,” Testa added.
The Lincoln Depot Foundation has been managing the $3 million in NY State grants that were obtained under Governor George Pataki in 2006. The first phase of the project was completed in 2007 with the restoration of the depot building exterior. Despite a multitude of delays caused since 2008 by the City of Peekskill’s inability to move the visitor’s center and plaza portion of the project forward, the Depot building component has been making tremendous progress. This is due to the fact that the funding for the depot structure and the creation of the museum is under the sole control of the Depot Foundation.
Within the next few weeks the restoration of the building interior will be complete. Included in this phase of the project has been the installation of a new wood floor and radiant heating system, electrical, gas and water infrastructure, custom climate controlled glass entryway and door installations, professional museum grade lighting, complete digital transmission infrastructure, restoration of the station master/passenger portion of the building, museum quality HVAC and fire suppression systems, ADA compliant bathroom, catering /kitchenette area, and historic paint scheme.
In October of 2012 two special presentations were conducted at the depot. The first was a special donation made by local artist and lifelong Peekskill resident Robert Barthlemes who, along with his wife Kay, donated an authentic Peekskill stove to be used as part of the interior restoration. The original Southard Robertson stove donated by Barthelmes was manufactured in Peekskill during its industrial manufacturing heyday and was removed from an Orange County railroad depot before Barthelmes obtained the stove from an antique dealer nearly 30 years ago.
The second presentation was made by State Senator Greg Ball who upon learning of the project the previous year while attending the Lincoln Society annual events, obtained a $100,000 capital project grant to help make up for the unexpected infrastructure costs to the project.
“We are now beginning the final phase of the project with the creation of the museum,” Testa said. “The board has started the huge task of selecting a museum architect/designer, obtaining artifacts and creating a unique experience for those who visit,” Testa added.
The museum phase will take 6-8 months to complete explained Testa. Along with the museum build-out the depot will be the home to rotating visiting exhibitions. Also planned is a full annual schedule of events such as lectures, forums, demonstrations, movie showings, musical and theatrical performances, children focused activities and reenactments. The depot will also be available for private party/event rentals.
“We have received a widespread spirit of support for our project,” Testa said. “Inquiries have come in from all over the country and especially in the tri-state area and NY City. Many are anxious to visit the facility and others are looking to contribute or plan events at the depot. This will be the destination location we always envisioned and will be a focal point for historians and families alike,” Testa added.
Upon learning of her appointment Pisani stated: “During a Lincoln Society Board Meeting I attended nearly eighteen years ago, a raw concept of developing the Lincoln Depot was discussed. Now, as a newly-elected board member of the Lincoln Depot Foundation and a former City Councilwoman who supported this project ardently, I am honored and elated to become part of the team which will oversee this unique and historic river front destination, the Lincoln Depot Museum. Dreams do transform into reality with immense foresight, time and energy expended. I am grateful to all those individuals who have propelled this arduous and multi-faceted project with such dedication. I look forward to working with the other members of the board with our shared determination.”
To keep up to date and/or donate to the Lincoln Depot Museum visit their website at www.lincolndepotmuseum.org