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What you need to know for 01/23/2018

Ballston Spa officials looking to expand, consolidate

Ballston Spa officials looking to expand, consolidate

Ballston Spa officials are considering buying a former print shop on Bath Street to become a new and

Ballston Spa officials are considering buying a former print shop on Bath Street to become a new and more modern village hall.

The Village Board agreed this week to consider purchasing the 12,320-square-foot, two-story building to replace the current village hall and police station, which are now in separate buildings.

“I think all the village offices can be in one location, including the Police Department,” Mayor John P. Romano said. “I think it could serve the village’s needs now and well into the future.”

Romano’s proposal is for the village to finance the purchase by selling the current village hall at 66 Front St. and the police station at 30 Bath St. The revenue would be used to pay for the purchase of 35 Bath St.

For the police, it would literally be a move across the street, from an old fire station they now occupy; the other village offices would be moving only a few doors, from a former bank building they now occupy at the corner of Front and Bath streets.

The former Ballston Printing building at 35 Bath St. is newer than either village building and would make the village offices handicapped-accessible for the first time.

“Those buildings could be put back on the tax roll with retail on the first floor,” Romano said. “It would be a win for the village’s downtown area.”

The building being eyed by the village was originally a car dealership and later housed the printing company. It is currently home to a real estate office. The property was recently advertised for sale for $579,000, but is no longer an active listing.

Romano said there’s no agreement with the owners, but they have expressed willingness to sell to the village.

On Monday, the Village Board voted to advertise for a commercial real estate appraiser to come up with a fair market value for all three buildings, as a first step to determining if the arrangement would work.

“I think it has great potential to have all offices in one location. We need to see if the numbers work,” said village Trustee Stuart Hodsell.

“Investigation is all it is at this point,” said Trustee Robert Cavanaugh.

Romano said he’s been pondering the need to modernize for some time — the village offices are in a building constructed in 1873, with limited office space and two upper floors being used only for storage. The police station building dates from 1867 and forces police to work in a confined area behind where firetrucks used to be parked.

Romano said his concerns came to a head when the village last year got an $85,000 estimate for making the current hall, with its steep front steps, handicapped-accessible, as is required by federal law.

The 35 Bath St. building also comes with 21 parking spaces, Romano said. Neither current building has dedicated public parking.

Romano said he’d like to see the village offices move by next summer, though he acknowledged there are a number of steps to be taken before that can happen.

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