Press-Republican

May 1, 2014

Emergency relief: Tupper gets money for fire/police station

By KIM SMITH DEDAM
Press-Republican

---- — TUPPER LAKE — The Village of Tupper Lake has funds in place now to build the new Emergency Services Building.

A combination of state money and low bids made the difference, without federal grants.

Tupper Lake Mayor Paul Maroun said $500,000 in critical grant funding is coming via Gov. Andrew Cuomo from the State Economic Development Corp.

The grant closes the gap on the $3.7 million fire and police station, an amount lower than initial estimates because bids came in $600,000 below projected costs.

“We are going to exercise the bids we received for construction,” Maroun said Wednesday.

‘VERY THANKFUL’

A referendum vote in the Village of Tupper Lake last May allowed borrowing up to $3.2 million, and the state’s $500,000 grant rounds funding out at $3.7 million.

The 364-298 vote last year approved the project with a caveat: The project could move forward if Tupper Lake received grants.

But the federal funding did not materialize, the mayor said.

“After we heard there was no money, at least for now, I contacted Sen. Betty Little, and she contacted the Governor’s Office,” Maroun said.

“(Tuesday) afternoon, they told us they are giving us a grant of $500,000 from the Economic Development Corporation.” 

Sean Foran, project consultant from Hueber-Breuer Construction, would execute the bids, he said.

“I am very thankful to Gov. Cuomo and Sen. Little for intervening on the part of the citizens in Tupper Lake — without the aid, we would not have been able to move ahead with this Emergency Services Building.”

LAND PURCHASE NEXT

The next step in the process is to buy the land, about 2 acres on Santa Clara Avenue. The village has had an option to buy the lot for more than a year.

“We will be exercising the option on the land in the next few days,” Maroun said. “We’ve got Adirondack Park Agency approval already. I’ve worked with the Franklin County Highway Superintendent (Jon Hutchins), who is going to excavate the land.”

Hauling tons of dirt from the site will likely require shared-service assistance from the towns of Piercefield and Tupper Lake.

The new Emergency Services Building will improve first-response services, centralizing both police and fire personnel in one location, officials say.

Tupper Lake Police Department no longer fits in its current quarters, in what used to be a morgue.

“They shouldn’t have been in there this long. Had this not gone through, we would have had to buy a building for them or build a new one,” the mayor said.

“And we need a place to store all of our fire equipment. We have a new fire contract with Santa Clara this year. We need to have trucks ready to roll.”

REGENERATION

Maroun called construction of the new Emergency Services Building “a big step” toward regeneration in Tupper Lake.

“It’s one of the few public buildings built here since the fire station.”

The Village Board will continue to seek ways to cut bond costs as the project rolls forward.

“We are looking at the possibility of getting Firemen’s Association of the State of New York loan against the bond anticipation note, for example,” Maroun said.

The village has already spent $172,000 for engineering, site studies and pre-construction work on the building, according to Village Clerk Mary Casagrain.

The mayor said there was no reason given for lack of federal grants, which were assured in public meetings before the vote last year.

Construction on the new Emergency Services Building could begin within eight weeks.

Email Kim Smith Dedam:kdedam@pressrepublican.com