Press-Republican

March 11, 2014

Franklin County public-transportation buses need new home

By DENISE A. RAYMO
Press-Republican

---- — MALONE — It’s a priority now for Franklin County to find a new site to house its public-transportation fleet.

The county must move out of the former Cleyn & Tinker building by May 1, the anticipated closing date for the sale of the property.

Discussions among legislators at a recent session included possibly building a separate indoor site at the Highway Department Garage on Route 30 or leasing about one-third of the former Valco Furniture manufacturing plant in the Malone Industrial Park for $1,900 a month.

It was also suggested that construction and rental costs could be saved, at least for this summer, by using outdoor parking lots at the soon-to-be-closed County Nursing Home or at county-owned space behind the former Kriff’s Furniture building on Main Street.

PASSENGER PARKING

Transportation Coordinator Mary Goodman told legislators she has until May 1 to find another indoor site for the program’s 10 buses. It also needs parking spaces to accommodate personal vehicles of the roughly 20 passengers who park and ride.

She said she looked at other buildings but found it would have been too expensive to renovate them to fit the buses’ heights and widths.

But Goodman said the Valco site isn’t the best solution either since it is out of the way and may discourage bus usage for some.

Some passengers may opt to car pool or use their own vehicles to get to work instead of driving out to catch the bus, she said, so ridership numbers could suffer.

“That’s a big concern of mine.”

OTHER OBSTACLES

Use of the Nursing Home property — once the place is vacated — might also have obstacles since the county hasn’t determined how or if the building will be reused. 

Also, Emergency Services Director Ricky Provost has already asked for some room to store several pieces of large equipment that his agency uses but has no place to keep at his facility on Bare Hill Road.

It was announced in late December that brothers Anthony, Robert and Tracy Dow, owners of Dow Electric, had purchased the Cleyn & Tinker site on Route 11.

About $900,000 in renovations are expected to begin soon after the May 1 transfer of ownership.

The company may hire as many as 25 people.

The Dow family also owns Everything Electric in Malone and Potsdam and Alltech Integrations Inc. in Potsdam.

Email Denise A. Raymo:draymo@pressrepublican.com