2012-02-01 / Civics and Politics

The View from Philipstown

By ANNIE CHESNUT

Philipstown Town Hall.Philipstown Town Hall.The stately white Town Hall that sits at the crest of Main Street is a Philipstown landmark.

For those of us who spend time each week attending meetings and doing business, it’s a mixed blessing—charming to look at, but not so charming to navigate. The stairs are steep, the bathrooms and offices are cramped, and there are file cabinets virtually everywhere you look in the 4,700 square-foot building.

Upstairs, the courtroom is spacious enough, and well lit, but the tall, arched windows are covered with 4-mil plastic to keep out the drafts.

So it wasn’t a surprise when Supervisor Richard Shea raised the possibility of using some of the municipal space in the proposed Butterfield development to house the Town offices.

Philipstown has already committed to the use of 6,000 square feet for combined courtroom space (with Nelsonville and Cold Spring—which has already formally committed), a new space for seniors, and an area for veterans, to replace the 500-square-foot, Town-owned VFW Hall on Kemble Avenue.

The relocation of the seat of Philipstown’s government to the new building is a topic now open for discussion, Shea said, and he will be soliciting plenty of input from citizens. He indicated his preference for moving Town offices to the new building because of space limitations, the potential costs involved in bringing the existing building into compliance with ADA and other regulations, and escalating heating costs. “It’s been band-aided to death,” Shea said.

Other councilmembers generally agreed, but emphasized the need for much more information about the potential costs involved in such a move. Shea said that the developer had offered a lease rate of $12.75 per square foot, unfinished.

Using an estimate of $60 to $70 per square foot for the finishing process, Shea offered a possible cost of $662,000 for the first year and $102,000 per year thereafter. He also noted that the space would generate “somewhere in the neighborhood of $1 million in tax revenue.”

 

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