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Report: Plan to Save Historic Schedler Home Needed, Freeholder Says

County officials came to express support for the preservation of the 190-year-old Dutch home on a site that may become sports fields.

A Bergen County Freeholder told historic preservationists they should develop a concrete plan to save the historic Zabriskie Schedler house, according to a report in The Ridgewood News.

The Ridgewood Village Council containing the historic Dutch-frame house in 2009, predominantly using grant money. Local officials have said, however, they and have left the property virtually untouched.

The council in spring of 2012 held a series of community forums to elicit ideas for development. Members of the Residential Eastside Development (RED) group have heavily lobbied to preserve and restore the 1800s-era home. Their fears may be well founded, given the .

Sports groups, citing a , have lobbied to transform the triangular property between West Saddle River Rd. and Route 17 , with a 60-foot baseball field and an overlapping multi-purpose field.

The proposed plan from sports groups does not threaten to demolish the Dutch home, Ridgewood youth sports scheduler Ed Seavers said at the last forum meeting.

Freeholder John Mitchell, who appeared with Maura DeNicola and Robert Hermansen on Wednesday, pressed the RED to come up with a "solid plan," according to The Ridgewood News report.

"A plan will add to your argument, and it will allow you to work in concert with the government," Mitchell was quoted as saying. The freeholders have no legal authority in the matter.

No specific development plans have been vetted by the council. Officials have said they'd be mulling the ideas generated by the residents and the Open Space Committee. 

Any development would require private fundraising, officials have said.

joseph toth August 16, 2012 at 03:00 AM
Why not a nature preserve with walking paths? Do we really need more sports parks. Something that compliments the personality of the historic Ducth farm house.
Ridgewooder August 16, 2012 at 03:47 AM
Are we going to turn the entire world into a huge nature/history reserve? Bulldoze it.
jp1 August 16, 2012 at 12:08 PM
Let us bulldoze everything and pave it over . Start with Ridgewooder house and property.
AvgCitizen August 16, 2012 at 07:11 PM
his•tor•ic adjective 1. well-known or important in history: Can someone tell me why this house is “Historic”? Sometimes old is just old. Combination of fields and natural buffers should make most happy. Natural open space and wildscapes are already located at Dunham Trail, Grove Park, Kings Pond Park, North Road Park, Pleasant Park and Twinney Pond. And let’s not forget other close parks like the Duck Pond and the Saddle River County Park. Added together there is probably more passive use land then active in Ridgewood. Many people move here for the school system, as a result we have more school age children then most towns our size. The track at BF is nice but it came at a cost of 2 ball fields and one large open space field. Schedler absolutely needs a High school size Baseball field. When you also include a multi-use field there is still room for nature.
anonymous August 17, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Kids don't play baseball anymore. Soccer and lacrosse are the predominant sports children play these days in Ridgewood. And they can be played in an open field. Ridgewood doesn't need any more costly baseball diamonds and chain link backstops that remain empty and unused except for a handful of Saturdays in May and June.
sandy August 17, 2012 at 05:31 PM
The Schedler house is the typical old added on-to house. The inside has numerous up and down single steps marking where the additions were. It "could" be savable, but at what cost? Handicapped accessibility would require even floors or multi ramps. It is in terrible shape and most of it's "historical' value has been covered with newer additions.
jp1 August 17, 2012 at 06:10 PM
Kids DO play baseball suggest you go to our sports fields with your eyes open.
Ellie Gruber August 17, 2012 at 06:21 PM
I wonder how many of these comments are made by folks who actually have been inside the house? Where to begin: handicap accessibility is decided on a case by case basis; at the meeting of the Bergen County Open Space committee, this very fact was addressed; there are cases of approved buildings where the second floor libraries do NOT have to be accessible to all. Simple ramps from the outside are acceptable and used successfully by those not able to walk the stairs. An independent, well recommended structural engineer and a well recommended roofer each inspected the house at two different times, with Village approval, by the way. They each sent a letter to the village testifying to the structural integrity of the house. What did you mean by "terrible shape", Sandy? Someone was living in the house, put a new furnace in the house, 5 years ago. If there is expense to repair roof, it is due to the fact the Village ignored the roof until neighbors insisted a better tarp be placed. There are numerous "up and down" stairs in many buildings, by the way. but there is also a large, easily accessible first floor, large enough to have small meetings, and yes, there will be a need to install good, new, accessible unisex restrooms. And as for the fact that there are other open spaces in town and we don't need more, there is no real objection to a playing field on part of the property; the house does not interfere with the field, you can see from the proposed plan.
Chris Peters August 17, 2012 at 06:55 PM
The Zabriskie-Schedler house can be utilized, in the same way the Stable is preserved AND utilized, especially since it is not in they way of the field, walking trail or parking lot. look at the map. and it is historic because it is the last Dutch Wood Frame house in Bergen County (noted back in 1984). so glad people didn't look at the Parthenon in Greece and say 'ack its old and there is no use for it, tear it down'.
Chris Peters August 17, 2012 at 07:01 PM
also, for the residents on the East side of RW, that live near the Zabriskie-Schedler house, they have no school, park, or any other 'community equity' like the rest of the village residents have. Don't these residents deserve to have a communty center, field, playground and walking trail nearby like the rest of the village?
anonymous August 17, 2012 at 07:16 PM
I do go to the parks in my neighborhood quite frequently and never see anyone using the baseball diamonds for baseball except for the brief season when the RBSA uses them for a few hours a week. I believe their season starts in mid April and runs for about 9 weeks. Baseball diamonds and the large chain link backstops are unsightly and an added cost to maintain. Ridgewood already has 21 baseball fields, I don't want to foot the bill for another one. Correct me if I am wrong, but I don't believe RBSA pays a use fee for the fields.
Paul August 17, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Ellie Gruber, You are right! Keep the house, and anonymous you are also right! Baseball diamonds on Vets & Stevens fields only used inthe spring summer then? The parks dept maintains them at Tax payers expence. Drive around the fields home owners and see what we are saying!
Chris Peters August 17, 2012 at 10:35 PM
There are some photos of the inside of the house on the Zabriskie-Schedler House Facebook page.
Kevin Wright August 18, 2012 at 02:08 PM
Strange to suggest that historic preservationists now need a "solid plan" to save the Zabriskie-Shedler House, especially because we arrived at this predicament because public dollars were used to acquire so-called "open space," completely ignoring the easily identifiable presence of a significant historic resource on the property! According to the Summary of Project Awards for 1999 through 2009, the Bergen County Open Space, Recreation, Farmland and Historic Preservation Trust Fund expended $1,000,000 in 2008 on "Schedler Property Acquisition" for "Open Space" and $600,000 in 2009 for "Schedler Property Acquisition," again for "Open Space." But this isn't "Open Space", is it? It obviously includes a historic structure. Was the Zabriskie-Shedler House identified on the County's inventory of cultural resources for Ridgewood?
sandy August 18, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Ellie, I have been inside the house. You have to step up to go in through the back from the little porch to the kitchen and also to go through the front into the living room. The house is full of small spaces. I am not worried about using the upstairs, I was referring to the multitude of small differences in the floors between the additions. Has anyone investigated the cost to make it useable and handicapped accessible? As far as I know, any building being converted to public use has to be handicapped accessible.
Kevin Wright August 18, 2012 at 02:39 PM
What is the problem? Did the Bergen County Trust Fund Public Advisory Committee fail to identify a historic structure and instead declared this "open space???" The solution would have been to place a historic preservation easement on the house and a suitable surrounding lot, then sell it to a private owner, thereby keeping it on the tax rolls without interfering with the proposed recreational use of the remainder of the property. I think the County government needs a "solid plan" to correctly identify historic resources during the land acquisition process and to use public dollars wisely to conserve our vanishing heritage and not to endanger it. While it is my understanding that the extant house dates to about 1826, it is most surprising that no one recognized this as part of a Revolutionary War battleground surrounding the Old Paramus Church (which it most certainly was) and therefore was alert to the potential presence of historic and archaeological resources. "Land-banking" of misidentified "open space" over the past decades, largely funded by Federal, state, county and local tax dollars, is responsible for the greatest threat to, and loss of, historic buildings and cultural landscapes in NJ. We have tolerated ignorance and greed and funded a culture of demolition by indifference. How are we to regard this differently from "cultural genocide" we have seen practiced in other places and at other times against the historic identity of other communities of people?
Chris Peters August 18, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Thanks for your valuable insight Kevin! the house is listed on the 1984-85 Bergen County Historic Sites Survey, but unfortunately no one in Ridgewood bothered to investigate how old the house really was during this entire process.
Chris Peters August 18, 2012 at 03:54 PM
article in today's Star Ledger: Unearthing history: N.J. students search ground for lost Revolutionary War soldiers http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2012/08/unearthing_history_nj_students.html they are using radar to find bones!
Lauren Imbruglia August 19, 2012 at 09:12 AM
This is a silly comment! I believe Ridgewood sent 2 baseball teams to state semi-finals or finals this year. My own son doesn't play baseball, but this has been very well publicized this year.
Martin March 01, 2013 at 09:59 PM
Just what the area needs speeding cars on a curve with no buffers, set backs or sound barriers. This is what I see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cblw5hvdrgs Great idea
Chris Peters March 01, 2013 at 10:21 PM
if we could see Nascar from the Schedler property.... I'd help sell tickets ;-). great analogy tho!

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