Press-Republican

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December 12, 2013

Shared-garage idea still alive

MALONE — Negotiations are underway for a new site that will house the Malone Central School District’s bus garage and maintenance facility.

And the plan could still include space for the Town of Malone Highway Department, said School District Business Administrator Timothy Whipple.

“We have another option, and it is very promising,” he said. “There is definitely an opportunity for the town to be involved, and I think they will be excited about that.”

Whipple said the district was negotiating with the property owner and so could not discuss specifics. But he hoped to have an announcement by the end of December.

The new site was being sought by the Facilities Committee because obtaining a plan to use a parcel at the Malone Dufort Airport near the existing Highway Garage was derailed by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The FAA was requiring the district have two appraisals done on the parcel, but Whipple said the land would have been evaluated as a prime commercial property on Route 11 in the same category “as what Wal-Mart would pay.

“I don’t want to give a figure, but it would have been quite substantial,” he said of the cost estimate, so the district didn’t bother going ahead with the appraisals there.

Instead, the district began pursuit of the alternate site.

The district could qualify for state aid and get 90 percent reimbursement for its portion of a shared facility, then lease space to the town.

Voter approval would be needed for any plan to move forward.

Several versions of a shared site have been discussed since 2008 when the district failed to gain voter approval for a $12.5 million transportation/maintenance facility near Houndsville Road.

Construction of a $1 million shared facility between the village and town was suggested in a 2012 dissolution report that the Village of Malone considered.

And after voters rejected dissolution by a 2-to-1 margin later that year, a shared town-village-school district plan was discussed. 

That plan fell apart when the Village Board decided its portion was going to be too expensive.

The town and school partnered for the joint site at the airport, but the FAA complication ended that.

Email Denise A. Raymo:draymo@pressrepublican.com

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