BALLSTON SPA – Chris Morley’s official title in the Village of Ballston Spa was Historical Consultant, and everyone in the village knew of and loved his huge collection of pictures and memorabilia. He was also renowned among village residents for his photographic memory.
But when Morley passed away, it was discovered that his massive collection was never catalogued. Not only that, the collection isn’t all in one place; Morley bequeathed some of his items to the Ballston Spa Library and some to Brookside Museum, while some of the more valuable items are being stored at Village Hall. His more personal items went to his family.
After Morley’s passing, Ballston Spa Mayor John Romano soon realized what a wonderful treasure Morley had given to the village. He is now considering ways to catalogue those items.
“We have to preserve this treasure trove of history,” Romano said. “These are extremely valuable to the village.”
In order to catalogue the items, as well as the other records the village has, the mayor will be seeking a long-term records management grant through the New York State Office of Archives.
The amount Romano requests will depend on what the village needs, but it could be as much as $50,000, according to Romano.
“It will be an ongoing process,” Romano said. “When we seek the grant, it will be for all our records, not just the memorabilia.”
The process is a complicated one and will have to be accomplished in several phases, Romano said. The first phase will involve someone coming in to review the documents and explore options for a potential place to store them, especially one that is more secure.
“We have a lot of records that we need to find a place for,” Romano said.
No firm plans have been made yet and Romano hasn’t even approached the town board with the idea, he said.
“I want to take the baby-step approach because of the huge amount of items that need to be sorted,” Romano said. “This is still in the very early planning stages.”
The budget for Morley’s position was very small, only $1,200 a year, Romano said.
“Chris always donated that money to Brookside and the village intends to continue to do so,” Romano said. “Also at this time we have no plans to fill Chris’s position. That will have to be something we discuss as a board.”
To that end, Romano is also considering what to do with Morley’s office, as well as another office in the basement.
“The village fire chief does not have an official office,” Romano said. “One of those offices could be used for official space for them.”
The village has two fire companies, Eagle Matt Lee and Union Fire Company No. 2, and the position of chief is alternated every year. This year’s chief, Paul Marozzi from Eagle Matt Lee, said he is absolutely thrilled at the chance to have an office.
“As chief we are required to keep all kinds of records and paperwork,” Marozzi said. “Up until now each chief has had to keep the records at their personal residences where they might not be as secure.”
Marozzi said he was approached last month by Romano about the possibility of having one of the offices. There would need to be some renovations and rewiring to allow for computers to be installed, he said.
“I would move in today if I could,” Marozzi said. “This will be a tremendous advantage. I’m very excited.”
Marozzi said the office will allow for the installation of the latest computer equipment so the fire companies can better prepare for emergencies. The office would also be used as a place for the public to meet with him, as well as for all the fire department officers to meet, he said.
“The last time we met it was around my kitchen table,” Marozzi said.
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