The town of Malta will take a look at whether the Round Lake Rod & Gun Club property would be suitable for a Highway Department storage site.
The 33-acre property was going to be auctioned by Saratoga County on Tuesday because of unpaid back taxes, but the Town Board voted Thursday to exercise the town’s right to remove a property from the county auction.
The move will give the town about six months — until the next county tax auction — to evaluate the property and several potential environmental problems it may have, said Town Supervisor Paul J. Sausville.
The location is remote, he said, at the dead end of Ruhle Road South. The gun club itself is disbanded.
“It could make a good place for storing of highway materials, sand and salt and gravel and those sorts of things, pieces of equipment,” Sausville said.
The Highway Department now stores all its material and equipment on what has become a cramped highway garage site on Route 9 in the downtown area, between the Shops of Malta commercial development and Town Hall.
The county was going to auction the property because of $29,924 in unpaid back taxes between 2011 and 2013, according to the county treasurer’s office. If the town decides against taking it, it could be sold at the next auction in September.
The property sits on the east side of Ruhle Road South between the Zim Smith recreation trail and the Ballston Creek, which flows through a steep ravine in that area.
There are at least two known environmental problems on the property. A fire in 1985 destroyed the main club building, and burned wood debris was disposed of afterward on the site. There are also concerns about lead contamination, based on the many years when lead shot was used during shooting practice.
The town engineers did a study in 1989, when the town was considering acquiring the property for park land, that raised red flags about the cleanup costs.
Sausville acknowledged those issues still exist. “We will review all the fire material for evaluating what might be the town’s responsibility for a cleanup,” he said Friday.