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Wed., Oct. 7
Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York

Town of Colton purchases 90 Main St. building for $20,000; sets aside $7,500 for asbestos survey


COLTON - The 90 Main St. building in Colton, formerly home to Julie’s Junque 2 Jems, is now property of the town after they recently purchased the location for $20,000.

The town board announced Wednesday night that closing papers had been signed, and demolition of the eye sore is being discussed.

Before demolition occurs though, the town will have an asbestos abatement performed, and they have allocated $7,500 for that task to be performed.

They have yet to decide which contractor they will be using for the survey.

“The town purchased (the building) as of last week. The town was able to purchase the building for $20,000 and Arlene Gotham was the woman who owned it,” Town Supervisor Dennis B. Bulger said. “They had a laundromat there, and they had a store at one time. It’s been used for many things over the years but it has gradually deteriorated and we had to close off parts of the building where people were living in apartments because of the conditions of the building. It had become a bit of an eye sore in the town.

“The town has really had an interest in doing something about this for years and years. The opportunity opened up at the last minute this year and Arlene was willing to sell it. They were asking for some price that we weren’t willing to pay for it at the time but we underwent negotiations with her, recognizing there may be some issues with asbestos, and she was willing to come down on the price to $20,000, which is less than what it is appraised for,” he said.

Mr. Bulger added that discussions have taken place as to what the building will be used for, and there are a handful of options. “We got an architect engineer from MRB out of Rochester, and they are coming up with a concept for that building. ... We had a meeting with a contractor where we had an exchange back and forth on some of the things we would like to see,” he said.

“So they’re putting together a final concept as to what we might use it for. In that, we’re looking at the possibility of a neighborhood center for sure. We’re looking at having a changing area in support of the town and also white water kayaking and all of the town events.”

Potsdam Neighborhood Center Director Daisy Cox was extremely appreciative of the town board’s decision to take on the project.

“I just want to commend the town. First off, this is a huge undertaking and I remember last year when somebody said, ‘Hey, this could be a possibility.’ It’s always wonderful to see a community go ahead and revitalize itself and take a building that is clearly posing a danger and turning it into something for a community benefit, such as what you have here,” Ms. Cox said.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of that with our neighborhood center program here in the Colton area. We look forward to being able to provide the area with a food pantry out of the site, as well as to be able to work with people in crisis situations who might need maybe a little bit of fuel assistance or maybe some electric assistance. ... Having the ability to do that right here within walking distance to most of the rental properties in the Colton area, is really a wonderful opportunity that I am very grateful for,” she added.

Mr. Bulger noted that details regarding design and financing for the project have yet to be talked about.

Given the amount of years that the building has put in, asbestos is a possibility according to Mr. Bulger.

“We recognized it from day one that asbestos may become an issue over there. That’s one of the reasons I got Arlene to bring the price down from in the ($30,000 range) down into the ($20,000 range.)

“The demolition (date) will depend on the asbestos survey. We have to get that answered first and then once we have that answered, if that’s not an issue there, we’re looking at early spring having the building come down. I’m hoping we don’t have an asbestos issue because that’s going to raise the cost and then we’d have to get some other people who are certified to do some work in that area,” he said.

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