Talking with site owner, village about to move
The Whitehall town hall may be moving closer to the former Off-Track Betting location – but rather than rent the space they may be looking into buying it.
The Whitehall town board heard for the second time from Garden Time owner Fred Troelstra on Nov. 12 concerning the possibilities of moving the hall from the Pavilion tourist center to the former OTB and Garden Time outlet.
“I don’t think that we should rely on anyone else to get into a place that will keep us warm and dry and not have to go to someone and ask if we can please do something with their building because we do not own it,” said town councilman David Hollister, who recently toured the Garden Time site with Troelstra and town supervisor Vernon Scribner.
“I feel that in the long run, it would be a good move,” added Hollister. “I know that we are in tough shape financially, but if we were to split it up, we could do it.”
Hollister again said that he would be willing to talk with the village and look into moving the police department to the site.
“The property does run right next to the village line,” said Troelstra.
“I would think we could look into annexing the property into the village so the police department would be located in the village,” said Hollister.
Village Mayor Patricia Norton said that she would be willing to meet with the town to look into the move.
“I would prefer that the department offices stay within the village,” said Norton. “I was told that the town would consider annexing that piece of property, so I would be up to discussing the situation.”
“You’re going to have to get the footwork done with the village before we go much further on this,” said town councilman Farrell Prefountaine.
Hollister responded to some claims that the location could be potentially hazardous for those trying to pull in and out of the parking lot.
“I was told by some that it’s a bad location,” said Hollister. “I went out on the property and I could see where someone pulling out of the far east side could cause an accident, but there’s another exit that if you go through there, it looks like there would be no problem.”
Troelstra said that the initial price for the property was listed at $395,000 and is currently listed at $349,000.
“We had purchased the property back in 1995 for $50,000 after the result of a fire,” said Troelstra. “We put $257,000 into that site to reconstruct and we feel that we used premium materials there. When we spoke a few months ago, the price was at $350,000. We are open for negotiation. This is not hard at $349,000-359,000.”
Town councilman David Waters questioned why the board was looking at the Garden Time site considering the soil remediation work that the town had planned for the former Troy Shirtmakers Guild property.
“We started out in this process with Troy Shirt and now we’re on to this,” said Waters.
“It would cost less here [Garden Time] to remodel than to rebuild that [Troy Shirt Factory] site,” said Hollister about the two sites. “We have to clean the soil at the site, but then we would be able to sell the property as-is.”
The town continued their discussions with Troelstra in a executive session and motioned to contact the village board to talk about annexation and moving the police department to the site, if the town should move forward with purchasing the property.