BY PAUL MITCHELL North Country This Week CANTON – What to do with the former McDonald’s building sparked some back-and-forth dialogue between members of the town and village boards at a joint …
BY PAUL MITCHELL
North Country This Week
CANTON – What to do with the former McDonald’s building sparked some back-and-forth dialogue between members of the town and village boards at a joint meeting on Wednesday night.
The 64 Main Street structure was earmarked for demolition but a request from the town board to visit the possibility of repurposing the building surfaced, delaying the tear down.
On Wednesday night, it became clear the building needs to be torn down but not before a confirmed cost is realized. Before the delay, officials received a bid of $64,260 from JEDA Environmental Services, Massena for the job. A 45-day agreement window has elapsed, prompting Mayor Michael Dalton to contact the company to see if that cost figure stands.
The mayor also noted the job may have to go out to bid again.
Wednesday’s conversation began when Deputy Mayor Anna Sorensen, who sits on the Building Committee, addressed an agenda item that involved awarding a bid of $9,700 to the engineering firm Barton & Loguidice, Watertown, for a site plan review of the McDonald’s building,
“We stopped short of a recommendation. We were unable to identify how to use the building if repurposed,” said Sorensen. “The village doesn’t see good staffing potential.”
Sorensen said the committee discussed moving the police department next door but to address that space issue the building would have to be demolished. Moving the town court out of the Canton Municipal Building was another topic but deemed unfeasible space wise.
“Our committee does not have a sense of how to use that space. We are not comfortable spending $10,000 to use for this.”
“By reusing 64 Main Street you are not really gaining anything,” said Dalton. “I think it still needs to come down.”
Town councilman Randy Brown questioned the lack of vision for dealing with the municipal building issue.
“This was presented without a long-term plan,” he said.
“I’m assuming that building is defective. Could we pare down the $25 million?” asked Councilman Robert Santamoor, also pointing to the possibility of constructing a second floor on the site of the pending tear-down site. “Maybe construct something like say $10 million.”
“I have a hard time justifying spending $10,000 for a building we don’t know what to do with it,” said Councilman John Taillon.
In the end, both boards unanimously agreed not to spend the $9,700 for a site plan study and once the demolition cost is finalized, both boards will vote on the matter at their respective monthly board meetings.
A Canton Municipal Building plan was in place after the town and village acquired the McDonald’s property, including the adjacent parking lot for $295,000 in July 2021. The plan fizzled in March when cost figures for a new municipal building surpassed $25 million.
Both town and village officials have gone on record saying that the price tag is far too steep with little no grant money available for municipal building construction.
“It’s not the plan, it’s the money driving the scope of this project,” saud Trustee Barbara Beekman. “What are our financing options? Let’s focus more on financing for a while until we have a feasible plan.”