Bethesda House is moving out of downtown, away from business owners who say the center for homeless and mentally ill residents is drawing undesirables to the city’s commercial center.
But the move comes with a new controversy — the proposed relocation site includes the 22-year office of Anderson Blacktop. Fred Anderson has refused to sell for the city’s appraisal price of $75,000, and now the Schenectady City Council is preparing to take the property through eminent domain.
City officials have spent six months crafting a deal in which Bethesda House would move to 834-838 State St., in the Vale neighborhood. Executive Director Margaret Anderton said she was willing to make the move after the Zoning Board of Appeals rejected her plan to build a new, larger facility downtown.
“That just wasn’t going to happen downtown,” she said.
City officials proposed the State Street site because the city owns three of the four parcels, which were abandoned by their owners. Anderson said he’s willing to sell them the last piece they need — but not for less than $150,000.