T he town and village have agreed to a contract that lays the groundwork for the police department’s relocation to the Whitehall Municipal Center.
The two sides have been working on a contract for the past few months and Mayor Peter Telisky and Supervisor George Armstrong have each applied their John Hancock to the document in the last two weeks.
The agreement designates a 31 x 39 foot space (1,209 square feet) on the building’s northern-most end that would be used for the police department. That space is nearly identical in size to the current department, although the layout would be more efficient.
Before the department can move, however, the space would need to be renovated.
Telisky said a small garage door located near the northwest corner of the building would be removed and a brick wall erected. There would also be a pair of walls erected inside the space as well as a service window, which officers would use to converse with the public. Bathroom facilities would need to be created as well.
The plans also call for the police department to share a holding area with town and village court if those entities make the move.
“It’s going to be a neat, clean, modest department,” he said.
Telisky estimates the village can move the police department for $10,000 or less. Last month the village set aside $2,000 from sale of scrap pipe to help finance the move and the department has some money in its budget to help facilitate the move.
Under the agreement, the village will not be required to pay rent but will be responsible for 25 percent of the building’s heating, electric and insurance costs. It would also be responsible for a pro-rated portion of any repairs affecting the entire building. In turn the village will continue to provide water and sewer services to the building at no charge.
The agreement also includes a clause that the village would not be responsible for the town’s portion of those costs should they ever decide to vacate the building. In addition, if the town was ever to leave and no longer wanted the building, ownership would revert to the village is they were so desirous.
The contract can be terminated by either the village or the town with 60 days written notice.
Trustees have said relocating the police department is advantageous for two primary reasons. One it provides a more centralized location closer to Whitehall’s business district. And it also would move the department to the northern side of the railroad tracks on South Williams Street.
Officials have expressed concern in the past that police would be forced to take a lengthy detour if a train ever derailed like one did in January of 2011.
As it is now if a train ever derailed, police would have to drive down County Route 12 to Beckett Road and connect with County Route 18 and then Route 4, a detour of nearly 8 miles and 16 minutes, to access the rest of the village.
Work on the department is expected to start in the next few weeks and the department could be in the building by this summer.
“They want to get things rolling,” said Whitehall Police Sergeant and town board member Richard LaChapelle. “They’d like to be here in a couple of months.”
Village ratifies town, fire department agreement
The village unanimously approved a resolution to allow the Whitehall Volunteer Fire Company to provide fire protection to the town.
The department is chartered through the village and therefore any agreement between the WVFC and the town needs to first go through the village.
The department will receive $99,000 to provide fire protection services in the town. The rest of the agreement remains unchanged from last year.
Members of the department had tried to include in the contract an agreement to provide first responder services in the town but the village denied the request at the advice of their attorney who said it should be a separate agreement.
Whitehall to be promoted to cyclists
Carol Greenough, director of the Skenesborough Museum, told the board she had purchased an advertisement in Adventure Cyclist, a niche publication for cyclists.
The Champlain Valley has become a popular route among cyclists and Greenough is hoping to capitalize on its popularity.
“I’m trying to promote and encourage cyclists to come to Whitehall,” Greenough told the board.
In August of 2010 a few hundred cyclists stopped at the Whitehall Recreation Center as part of Le Grand Tour, which started in Queensbury and proceeded through the Adirondacks and into Canada.
Officials from the New York State Canal Corporation have in the past expressed their desire to link Whitehall to a network of trails along the state’s canals but the logistics of such a trail have prevented it from happening.