By DENISE A. RAYMO
---- — MALONE — Two different contractors say they can demolish 395 West Main St. safely for $500,000 before it collapses into the Salmon River or falls into the roadway.
But first, Mayor Todd LePine would have to declare a state of emergency, which would then allow the village to dip into a $700,000 water-district reserve.
The Village Board would then hope to recoup the money from state or federal sources, “but there is no guarantee,” he said.
LePine said Village Attorney Nathan Race is researching possible reimbursement options.
The mayor held a site tour Thursday for a small contingent of officials who looked at the exterior of the building, where modular concrete barriers had been stacked two high to keep the public away and contain any debris that might fall.
Officials had already closed the sidewalk to pedestrians Monday.
The 90-foot building, adjacent to the Main Street bridge on the east and For Arts Sake to the west, has person-sized cracks in its walls, and sub-flooring has collapsed into the basement.
An expert took test samples Wednesday to determine if asbestos is present, but it will take about two weeks for the results to be known.
Engineer John Macarthur of Beardsley Design Associates recommends demolishing the site because it would cost more to shore up and restore it than the building would be worth.
Complications abound because there is no rear access to the building, it hovers above the village’s main sewer line, and it is in danger of contaminating the Salmon River either with debris or raw sewage.
‘ONLY VILLAGE STEPPED UP’
Village Board member Hugh Hill said Superintendent Paul Hutchins and the DPW crews already have a contingency plan to reroute the sewage should the line be compromised.
But he said all of this happened because stringent state and federal regulations on asbestos abatement and other environmental concerns led to the building’s disrepair and neglect.
LePine said that when an assortment of businesses were housed there over the years, generating property tax and sales tax and providing people with income and other benefits, officials from entities like the village, town, county, state and federal governments were glad.
But only the village is stepping up with assistance now that the building is a drain and burden on the community.
The building was purchased sight unseen for $1,700 at a Franklin County land auction in 2009, condemned by the village in January 2010 and sold in December of that year for $10 to a European-based company that dissolved in July 2012.
Email Denise A. Raymo: firstname.lastname@example.org