Press-Republican

Local News

June 19, 2014

DA walks away from reserve center

MALONE — District Attorney Derek Champagne no longer wants the former U.S. Army Reserve Center and may move his task-force operation to Franklin County’s 911 building.

He now feels the Finney Boulevard site would be too expensive and has too many long-term restrictions on future uses to make it a viable move.

“I’m always conscious of taxpayers, and I didn’t want the Reserve Center to be a liability for taxpayers down the road,” he said.

Instead, the DA is asking the Franklin County Legislature to supply space at the Emergency Services Building on Bare Hill Road to house the Border and Narcotics Task Force and a proposed State Division of Criminal Justice Services’ Northern Border Crime Analysis Center.

Lawmakers are expected to discuss the proposed resolution at the County Legislature meeting that starts at 8:30 a.m. today in the fourth-floor chambers in the County Courthouse.

'PERFECT MARRIAGE'

Legislator Don Dabiew (D-Bombay), chairman of the Public Safety Committee, said the Task Force and analysts would use the downstairs conference room in the 911 building for its high-tech equipment and crime-fighting operation.

He said it makes sense because the operations run by Champagne and that of Emergency Services Director Ricky Provost often converge.

“This is the perfect marriage,” Champagne said of the proposed move. “Two of the most technologically advanced departments would be together, and we would have the DCJS Northern Border Crime Analysis Center and the Task Force together in the 911 building.”

He said he would have as many as 10 people working out of the lower floor.

ASSET-SEIZURE FUNDS

The Reserve Center, built in 1961, has been vacant since 2008 but is maintained by the U.S. General Services Administration, which gives first reuse priority to services for the homeless.

Barnabas House Homeless Shelter and Services officials withdrew their interest earlier this year when they could not mount enough financial backing to operate such a large facility.

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