The idea of forming a historical society focusing on Bristol was proposed by village Trustee John McCabe at Monday’s Bristol Village Board meeting.
McCabe said the idea grew out of his interest in restoring and using the old Town Hall building for some Village Board meetings.
Ultimately, he would like to create a entity that would preserve history without putting onerous restrictions on people’s property or using taxpayer funds from village coffers.
“I’m trying to make this easy if you have a historical house, that you can keep it the way you want, but if you change it too much maybe it would have to be reassessed” as to its historical designation, McCabe said. “Funding is kind of up in the air now, but I don’t want it to be a drain on the village budget. I’m not asking for any money from the village.” McCabe envisions using volunteer labor for organizing the group as well as creating any signs that might be displayed at designated sights.
While McCabe had proposed that historical designation allow property owners some leniency from village building or zoning requirements, others on the board said that the type of independent of the village entity McCabe envisioned likely would not have that authority.
McCabe said he consulted representatives of the Western Kenosha County Historical Society, local history buffs Shirley and John Davidson and others in researching the make-up of historical organizations.
Village administrator Randy Kerkman suggested the next board action might be to endorse whatever historical entity develops. McCabe said he will continue working on the project and bring it back to the board at a later date for an update.
McCabe also reported that his conversations with County Executive Jim Kreuser regarding the old town hall building, currently located in the Bristol Woods County Park and used for storage, have been encouraging. County engineers have deemed the building “worth saving,” McCabe said.