Updated 07/09/2012 05:38 PM
Construction underway for new town hall
Plans to construct a new town hall in Potsdam have been years in the making. Town leaders created two separate plans, applied for numerous grants and worked through some resistance. As our Cara Thomas tells us, their plan is now finally coming to fruition and town officials can't wait to put the new hall to use.
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POTSDAM, N.Y. -- Potsdam town employees have had their fair share of concerns while working in the town hall on Market Street. Holding all the offices as well as the town court, employees say they were cramped. So cramped that people weren't able to come into the offices to have a private conversation with a town official.
Potsdam Town Assessor James Snyder said, "When you go in, somebody might want to see me but all the other offices are right there, so it was one big open room so you didn't have any privacy."
But it wasn't only a lack of privacy that was the problem. Being over 100 years old, the building was in desperate need of a renovation.
"The roof was leaking badly. The back wall was crumbling. We had been cited by the state because we lacked handicap accessibility," said Town Supervisor Marie Regan.
That was only the beginning of their infrastructure problems and town officials were ready for a change.
Back in 2008, the town put forth their first proposed plan. But it was voted it down amid concerns about raised taxes and the building's location. So the Town Board began thinking outside the box.
Supervisor Regan said, "We began thinking about talking to the village about a joint town/village court in 35 Market Street and then building just a one floor building for the offices of the town hall."
With the help of grants and capital improvement funds, those plans are finally coming to fruition. Renovations on the old town hall have been underway for months. And construction crews broke ground for the new building last week.
"I hope when all is said and done, that the public is going to feel that it's been well served by an effort that's taken many years to achieve," said Potsdam's Town Supervisor.
The new building will cost about $1.8 million, along with $600,000 for renovations on the old town hall. Town leaders hope to be in their new offices by November.
The new town hall will also house a community kitchen. Town officials say groups will be able to rent out the space for free.