The Village and Town of New Paltz may be joining forces as the two departments explore the possibility of a joint municipal center.
Following the discovery of a serious mold issue at the New Paltz Town Office location, local authorities determined that the building could no longer be occupied in its current condition.
Originally the American Legion Hall, the building on Veterans Drive was not intended to be used for as long as it was, or for the purpose of housing a part of the New Paltz government.
As the mold grew, it began to destroy the building and became a danger to the health of the town employees, forcing them to relocate to temporary offices housed in trailers on Clearwater Road. The office closed in November 2014.
On the evening of Sept. 22, a small committee of elected officials, including Village Trustee Don Kerr, Village Mayor Tim Rogers and Town Councilmen Daniel Torres and Marty Irwin, met to introduce the idea for the municipal center to the town and village boards.
The two offices are less than two miles from each other. However according to Torres, the separation of the buildings has caused frustration and difficulty for residents.
“There has always been this great confusion with residents about where to go to get things done, like getting permits or dealing with parking tickets,” Torres said.
Placing the same departments in a single location would also enhance productivity and provide easier access to the village and town planning boards.
Support for the collaboration was nearly unanimous as it reached a final 9-1 vote amongst the New Paltz village and town boards.
Currently the preferred location is the site of the old town office on Veterans Drive, with plans to demolish the current building and rebuild including a new village department.
Both the village and town have a strong willingness to work together. According to Rogers there is great cooperation between the two departments.
Issues like space, however, are still being thoroughly discussed.
Once the ideal 25,000 square mile facility is completed, the village would only occupy about 25 percent of the space — space that some village board members feel it does not really need. The site of the village Town Hall is perfectly fine.
Cost of the project has not been addressed yet, but will be a topic of future discussion as both boards work together to reach the best decision.
“Instead of just sending people somewhere different, they can just walk right down the hall. It makes everything easier,” Kerr said.