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  • February 5, 2003 NH Division of Historical Resources (NHDHR) letter to Diane Kelley Tefft in response to her letter requesting a determination as to whether the Armory/JFK is eligible for inclusion on the National Register. NHDHR's letter indicates the building is National Register-eligible.

  • February 24, 2003 Letter from City to NHDHR staff initiating the Section 106 consultative process and requesting meeting at their earliest convenience.

  • March 19, 2003 New Library Building Committee (NLBC) meets to hear report from City Manager about the action the City will take in responding to Tefft's action to put Armory building on historic register. City Manager reports that City will follow Section 106 of Historic Preservation Act and all City staff will cease design work until process is completed.

  • April 1, 2003 City staff meet with NHDHR staff to discuss Section 106 process relative to Armory/JFK building.

  • April 21, 2003 Alternatives Analysis Report prepared by City at recommendation of NHDHR and submitted to that agency. The report provides details regarding alternative sites considered and site selection criteria that were applied, as well as a brief assessment of the feasibility of re-using all or a portion of the building or its fašade in the new library. The report indicates that re-use was determined to be cost prohibitive in terms of operating and capital costs and counter to the space design and facility usage needs of a modern library.

  • May 6, 2003 1st public hearing under Section 106 process.

  • May 27, 2003 1st meeting of consulting parties (includes NHDHR, City staff, abutters, historical groups and other interested parties who requested inclusion) under Section 106 process. Bridge Street parking lot raised by consulting parties for reconsideration as alternative site.

  • May 28 -- June 11 City engineering, transportation, planning and library staff review previous site technical reports regarding the Bridge Street parking lot as an alternative site, and re-examine the site in light of the current situation.

  • June 2, 2003 City Council votes to "Authorize the City Manager to negotiate any agreements, comply with any applicable state, federal and local regulations, and otherwise take any and all steps necessary, which may include demolition of the JFK/Armory Building subsequent to the completion of the Section 106 review process, to bring about the construction of a new public library at that site in accordance with prior votes of the City Council."

  • June 11, 2003 2nd public hearing under Section 106 process. City staff present findings regarding a thorough reassessment of the alternative site (Bridge Street parking lot). Findings outline significant cost and site constraints. Following the close of that hearing, the New Library Building Committee again votes to endorse the Armory/JFK site.

  • June 12, 2003 Letter from City to NHDHR stating the City's intention to proceed to construct the new library project on the Armory/JFK site, with a resulting unavoidable adverse effect on the building.

  • June 24, 2003 City staff visit site with architect and contractor experienced in building renovation to assess whether any portions of the existing building can be retained for re-use in the new library.

  • July 15, 2003 2nd meeting of consulting parties under Section 106 process. City staff indicate they have advised the NHDHR that the City intends to proceed with the library project on the Armory/JFK site and that this will have an adverse effect on the building. The purpose of this 2nd meeting of consulting parties, as indicated on the agenda, is to consider feasible approaches to minimizing or mitigating those adverse effects.

  • August 4, 2003 Official letter to James McConaha of NHDHR of intent to move forward with library project. City proposes steps to mitigate effect on the JFK site by adequately recording the history of the Armory building and memorializing Portsmouth veterans at the site of new library.

  • August 7, 2003 Letter received from NHDHR in response to City's June 12th letter.

  • August 26, 2003 City staff, NHDHR Director McConaha and NHDHR staff meet to discuss moving forward with Section 106 process.

  • September 24, 2003 Mr. McConaha's letter indicating that NHDHR is satisfied that the information presented on the previously considered sites evaluated is adequate and that the Section 106 process could move on to the next steps of minimization and mitigation.

  • October 21, 2003 Meeting between City and NHDHR staff to review library design plans and minimization/mitigation issues and process with result that City would prepare a Minimization-Mitigation Report to be provided to NHDHR and consulting parties and hold a consulting parties meeting the first week of December to review the report.

  • November 4, 2003 City submits Minimization-Mitigation Report to DHR, prepared at DHR's request.

  • December 3, 2003 Consulting parties meeting on Section 106 process. Topic of the meeting is mitigation.

  • December 8, 2003 City Council work session on new library building project progress, including presentation of mitigation and minimization measures to be included in the Section 106 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).

  • December 10, 2003 City submits letter to federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation advising the agency of the Section 106 process.

  • December 18, 2003 Planning Board grants a 1-year extension of the site plan approval for the "construction of a 2 story 38,000 sq.ft. building for use as a public library with related paving, utilities, landscaping, drainage, and associated site improvements including improvements to a municipal parking lot."

  • January 13, 2004 New Library Building Committee meets for update on Section 106 process.

  • January 29, 2004 City staff members meet with representatives of the Jordan Institute to discuss certification of the new library under the LEED program for environmentally responsible buildings

  • February 4, 2004 City signs contract with Jordan Institute to guide the project through the LEED process.

  • February 18, 2004 City submits report to DHR, titled Contextual Study of Neighborhoods Surrounding the Portsmouth Armory; the report, prepared at the request of DHR, is researched and written by a qualified historic preservation professional under contract with City.

  • February 27, 2004 Letter from McConaha seeking substantial changes to the MOA, many of which are either infeasible, impractical or costly to the City.

  • March 16, 2004 City staff meet with NH Division of Historical Resources and come to final resolution on all outstanding matters, and full agreement on mitigation provisions to be included in the Memorandum of Agreement under the Section 106 historic review process; both parties initial each page of the agreement signifying their approval.

  • March 30, 2004 Following end of consulting party comment period, City signs MOA and sends to State Historic Preservation Officer James McConaha for his signature.
    City submits Historical American Building Survey (HABS) documentation for the Armory building to DHR; the report is prepared to federal standards by a qualified historic preservation professional under contract with City

  • April 6, 2004 Mr. McConaha requestes additional information regarding parking; City responds immediately to his letter indicating parking is not a Section 106 historic review issue, particularly since no on site parking is required by the City's local regulations.

  • April 1 - 26, 2004 City makes repeated unsuccessful attempts to obtain State Historic Preservation Officer James McConaha's signature on the MOA agreed to on March 16th, 2004.

  • April 13, 2004 Mayor Sirrell sends letter to Governor Benson seeking assistance in bringing the Section 106 process to conclusion.

  • April 22, 2004 Letter from City inviting Mr. McConaha to the May 3rd City Council meeting for the purpose of explaining why he will not sign the MOA.

  • April 29, 2004 Mayor Sirrell meets with Govenor Benson to try to resolve the impasse with the State Historic Preservation Officer

  • May 7, 2004 SHPO James McConaha and NH Commissioner of Cultural Resources Van McLeod meet with city staff to finalize and sign the Memorandum of Agreement.

  • October 13 and November 10, 2004 New Library Building Committee Chairman John O'Leary, architect Tom Amsler and city staff hold work sessions with the Historic District Commission. Materials from the work sessions are sent to NH Division of Historical Resources for review.

  • November 12, 2004 James McConaha, State Historic Preservation Officer, notifies the city in writing that Section 8 of the MOA has been satisfied, clearing the way for the deconstruction of the armory building.