Town may bet on OTB

Would look to buy former betting site 

The town of Whitehall may be getting closer to relocating to a permanent setting.

Town supervisor Vernon Scribner said that the matter of moving the town offices from the Pavilion potentially to the former Garden Time store and Off-Track Betting site on County Route 4 will be brought up at the Nov. 12 meeting of the town board.

Scribner said that the New York State Canal Corporation met with town officials in June of this year and gave the town their final “warning,” even before the town and Canal Corporation learned of the opening on Route 4.

“It stands about the same with them as it had,” said Scribner. “They called a couple of weeks ago to see how we were doing in finding a place to move to, but actually, the final straw for them happened back in June.”

“We met with the Canal Corporation and they basically told us ‘what part of no don’t you understand,’” said town councilman David Hollister.

Scribner said that the town plans to talk to Garden Time owner Fred Troelstra at the next town board meeting and see if there is an opportunity to move into the location and possibly purchase the site.

“He is willing to rent it out to us on a month-by-month basis,” said Scribner. “But I wouldn’t want to bring that up to the board because I think that if we are looking at moving to a permanent location, it would be foolish to look into a building that we would be renting month-by-month.”

“If we do move into that location, we should buy it,” said Hollister. “We know that it is not the best economic times, but we now know that we do need to get out of here at the Pavilion and I really believe we should own wherever the town decides to hang our hat.”

Scribner and Hollister took a tour of the building last week with Troelstra.

“The building is in what I would say is fair to good shape,” said Scribner. “There would just need to be some corrective work done. It wouldn’t be a big problem.”

“I think that they’ve got a problem with water in the cellar,” said Hollister. “Of course it needs a little face-lift, but the inside looks pretty good and the building is structurally sound.”

Scribner said that recent comments that he wanted to state the case for remaining at the Pavilion one last time after the election was based on a conversation that he had with an assembly candidate before the Garden Time site became available.

“With Tony Jordan running and now coming into office, we had talked and he said to me that if he was elected, he would take another look at the situation, but that was before we knew about Garden Time,” said Scribner.

Scribner and Hollister both re-iterated that once the town moved from the Pavilion to a new site, they would not have the financial means to maintain both their new “home” and the state park site.

“If and when we move, we would have to turn the park back over to the state,” said Scribner. “There’s just no way that we could ask our taxpayers to pay to maintain both places.”

Hollister said that if the town moves to Route 4, there was a chance that they could look into having other entities at the site.

“If we move, we will have to look for where we can get funding to move the town justice and other things into the new site,” said Hollister. “I think that it would also be a possibility to pitch to the village the option of moving the police out there. We could possibly annex the property into the village like we did with McDonald’s years ago.”

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