According to Engineer John Carr, a 40-by-80-foot site would cost about $435,000. If just half were finished, it would be about $382,000, and if just a building shell were constructed, it would cost $240,000.
Two other options proposed at the public hearing — purchase of the former U.S. Border Patrol building on Route 11, listed at $197,500, and renovations and improvements at the existing Town Hall — were rejected as too costly.
Lobdell said that if the town is unable to reach a deal with Collins, it will revisit the option of new construction.
But town officials would want a lot more information about possible bank rates and federal-loan programs and figures from Assessor Jim Gonyo on the potential tax impact on property owners.
THICK, BLACK SMOKE
Lobdell said the Collins property is “an excellent location” on busy Route 11, which was a factor that made fighting the fire that destroyed the building a year ago more challenging for volunteer firefighters as well as some motorists that day.
Thick, black smoke fanned by wind gusts to 25 mph poured south across Route 11 that afternoon.
Even as firefighters from 15 departments tried to reach the spot and direct traffic in zero visibility, several vehicles — including tractor trailers — continued driving blindly west toward Malone.
Traffic was finally shut down, and no one was hurt, but neither the business nor the rental home could be saved.
Investigators determined the fire got its start in the exhaust hood of a wood-stove boiler in a rear addition to the building.
Both buildings were torn down and hauled away, leaving the vacant lots.
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