Low-risk inmates from the Bergen County Sheriff's Labor Assistance Program cleared out two feet of debris from the interior of the historic Naugle House this week, setting the stage for an architect to now enter and draw up a site preservation plan for the Revolutionary War-era structure.
Since its acquisition last October, the house's interior had remained impassable making it impossible for the architecture firm hired to survey the property to enter and design a plan for its future function.
Following the work performed by inmates this week, only a refrigerator and stove still need to be removed, Public Works Superintendent Ron Conte said. A dumpster full of debris that is currently stationed outside of the house will be removed by end of day Friday.
Conte said that an architect and members of the borough's Historic Preservation Commission were on hand earlier this week during the cleanup to ensure that nothing of historical value was discarded in the process.
Now that the house has been cleared, Princeton-based HMR Architects will be able to enter and draw up a site preservation plan. The plan, which will involve assessing the house's condition, determining the required restoration work needed and suggesting uses for the property, is expected to be completed in six-to-nine months.
The borough is paying for HMR's services through a $19,500 county grant that must be matched by the borough.
When council decided to bring on HMR earlier this year, it agreed that the plan should include only the preservation blueprint for the house itself and not any recommendations on the surrounding landscape, which could cost an additional $15,000.
Historic Preservation Commission secretary Ray Richter said that if, down the road, more landscape or archaelogical work is necessary, the borough may puruse additional grants.