After more than a decade of fits and starts, the Schenectady County Sheriff’s Department has found a place to put a substation for its 10-member road patrol.
Planning for the substation has centered around an acre of county-owned property at the corner of Route 7 and Bull Street in Duanesburg. Sheriff Dominic Dagostino said locating a post in the western end of the county will help solidify the law enforcement presence in an area where there is no standing police force and will cut hours of time road patrol deputies now spend in transit.
“We’re trying to do this in the most cost-effective manner we can in a location that we feel will serve our needs out there,” he said Wednesday.
Road patrol deputies generally conduct their work out of the sheriff’s headquarters on Veeder Avenue in Schenectady. Dagostino said the drive time to the road patrol’s main coverage area in Princetown and Duanesburg eats up about two hours a day for each member of the road patrol. “You’re very easily losing a lot of time,” he said.
The proposed building would be a single story with about 2,000 square feet and located near the Quaker Street branch of the county library. Dagostino said the substation would include rooms for deputies to process arrests, prepare reports, conduct interviews and store evidence.
The cost of the building is expected to come in under $300,000. Dagostino said the funding was included in the county Legislature’s capital budget in 2009.
If all goes as anticipated, the county plans to break ground on the project in June. Construction would last about three months, meaning the substation could be operational in the fall.
Building a substation in either rural Duanesburg or neighboring Princetown has been discussed since the road patrol was re-established in 2001. Former Sheriff Harry Buffardi discussed purchasing Princetown’s old Town Hall on Kelly Station Road in 2002, but the effort never came to fruition.
The county also discussed locating a substation in Delanson’s Village Hall on Main Street. But county officials decided against the location, claiming that building needed a costly rehabilitation.
Discussions about the substation seemed to diminish for several years until county officials abruptly announced plans to build a post on a dilapidated property at the junction of routes 20 and 7. County officials proposed demolishing the old Check Marks Realty building and then clearing the property so the substation could be constructed at the bustling Duanesburg Four Corners intersection.
But town officials balked at the proposed site, which they considered too small to house the substation and at a bad location. County officials completed a cleanup of the property, but then deeded the land to the town to establish a park.
Dagostino, who wasn’t sheriff at the time of the proposal, said the Four Corners site was never seriously considered. He said the property wouldn’t have been adequate. “That would have been a very tough site,” he said.
Supervisor Rene Merrihew said the town supports the new location and the law enforcement presence it will bring to Duanesburg, which lacks a local police force. She said even the neighbors living nearby the proposed site have been supportive.
“I think it will be a nice addition,” she said.