Warren County’s Supervisors may be wavering on whether to preserve or condemn the two buildings that remain standing at Gaslight Village, but the time for a decision is fast approaching.
A $200,000 grant has been awarded to the three environmental organizations that own an easement on all but 2.5 acres of the Lake George property to demolish Charleys Saloon and some smaller structures this summer, and the county must decide whether it wants that grant to also pay for the demolition of Gaslight Village.
“I know there will be unhappy people whichever way we go,” said Supervisor Bill Kenny, who chairs a committee of Supervisors monitoring the project, which will include a park and water pollution controls.
Warren County, the Town and the Village of Lake George have until the end of May to reach a decision, said Warren County attorney Paul Dusek.
By then, Requests for Proposals will have been issued soliciting bids for the demolition of some or all buildings.
If the Calvacade of Cars building and the Opera House are omitted from the bids, they will remain standing.
Should the municipalities decide at a later date that the buildings are too costly to repair (the engineering firm of Clark Patterson told the Supervisors that it would cost at least $1.5 million to restore both buildings) the municipalities will have to pay for the demolition themselves
The Opera House, which Warren County Superintendent of Public Works Bill Lamy characterized as “not safe” and structurally unsound, was expected to be designated for destruction by the Warren County Board of Supervisors at its February meeting.
In fact, a resolution had been drafted for the Supervisors to approve agreeing to the demolition of the Opera House.
Instead, and despite Lamy’s analysis, the Supervisors voted to retain both buildings.
That decision pleased Lake George Supervisor Frank McCoy, the director of the Lake George Chamber of Commerce and local businessmen like John Carr, who told the Board, “these buildings are usable.”
The vote dismayed Lake George Village Mayor Bob Blais and several Lake George residents and business owners, including Lake George Steamboat Company president Bill Dow, who favor the demolition of the buildings. [Ed. - Read comments from two residents, Betty Spinelli and Joe Stanek, at the Lake George Mirror].
Dow, Fort William Henry Corporation president Bob Flacke and the Lake George Citizens group prefer a plan presented by Mayor Blais at another meeting of county supervisors, held a week later.
Blais argued that both buildings should be demolished.
“Four engineering studies have indicated that the costs to renovate the buildings into usable meeting space is extensive,” he said.
The open space should be used for parking, at least until a study has been undertaken that would identify the best use for the site. If the study recommended the construction of a new building or a pavilion, grants could be sought, said Blais.
Lake George Village has been awarded approximately $4.5 million in grants for similar projects in recent years, Blais said.
Regardless of the county’s decision about the Gaslight Village buildings, demolition of Charley’s Saloon on the parcel south of West Brook will start in mid-June, following the conclusion of Americade.
“New York State’s Department of Transportation will contribute the first $600,00 toward the construction of a storm water treatment complex on the historical wetlands, but the construction schedule has to coincide with work DOT is planning for Route Nine,” explained Peter Bauer, the executive director of The Fund for Lake George.
According to Bauer, the demolition will be completed by mid-summer; construction
of the storm water management complex will begin after the Adirondack Nationals Car Show in early September.
Kenny’s committee held a public hearing on to solicit opinion about the future of the Opera House and the Calvacade of Cars buildings on March 22.
It will meet again on April 12 before making a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors.
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Photo: Buildings at the former Gaslight Village Property in Lake George Village (John Warren photo).