Setbacks in Hook Mill Restoration

Hook Mill
The deterioration of the 1806 Hook Mill was worse than originally anticipated, adding months to the village’s ongoing restoration of the mill. Durell Godfrey

    Robert Hefner, East Hampton Village’s historic preservation consultant, gave a progress report on the renovation of the Hook Mill at Friday’s village board meeting.
    It’s been about 10 months since Richard Baxter, a restoration contractor, began work on the sagging mill, and it appears that some of the deterioration was deeper than originally thought.
    The plan had been to splice new bottoms onto seven of the eight wooden tower posts that hold up the structure, “maintaining the same sort of craftsmanship as Nathaniel Dominy,” said Mr. Hefner, referring to Nathaniel Dominy V of the famed East Hampton family of craftsmen and wood makers, who built the mill in 1806. Although the plans call for new wood to be used, the idea is to work from the outside in, preserving as much old wood as possible to be seen by those who visit the inside of the historic mill.
    “On the northeast side,” said Mr. Hefner, “the deterioration was worse than anticipated.” He described the discovery as “very frustrating.”
    “Dick Baxter has been doing almost all the work himself to ensure the highest quality of craftsmanship,” he said, estimating another four to six weeks of timber frame repair before Scott Fithian, the superintendent of the Department of Public Works, can get in to replace the flooring, machinery, doors, windows, and more.
    The cost for the mill renovation was originally set at $200,000, but, Mr. Hef­ner reported, there is expected to be an overrun of around $11,000 due to “additional work not in the specifications.”
    The mill should be done, according to Mr. Hefner, by the end of summer or early fall.
    In other village news, it now looks as though village taxes will be raised in the 2011-12 fiscal year, despite an earlier statement by Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. that they would not.
    “Unfortunately,” Mayor Rickenbach said Friday, “further internal review showed we had to add $100,000 [to the budget] — mostly for dispatchers, capital needs, and retirement funds — and that will translate to a 1-percent increase.” The proposed budget for 2011-12 is $18.4 million, which would bring a tax rate of $26.23 per $100 of assessed value, up from $25.97 this year.
    A hearing on the budget will be held next Thursday at 11 a.m. at the Emergency Services Building on Cedar Street.
    Following a brief hearing on Friday, the board also adopted a local law that would allow for not more than 25 vehicles without parking stickers to pay to park daily at Main Beach. The daily fee, said the mayor, “could create a slight revenue stream for us.”