Silver Creek building still up in the air

SILVER CREEK – The old Main Street school in Silver Creek has become more than an eyesore to the village as it sits vacant and deteriorating.

A hole on the west side of the building and legal confusion left the village board unsure of what to do at a recent meeting.

Mayor Nick Piccolo said he recently met with County Legislator George Borrello and Tom Whitney, executive director of Southern Tier Environments for Living Inc.

He said because of the hole, the county would like fencing to be installed. Piccolo said the village does not have the money or manpower to do it.

Piccolo said he also spoke with County Executive Vince Horrigan on the topic.

“He said it is one of his priorities and once he is situated he wants to meet with the board about it,” Piccolo said.

STEL showed interest in the vacant school building in 2011 and has applied for funding to remodel the building into apartments each year since.

Piccolo said the cost to demolish the building is $1.4 million because of asbestos and other contaminates. The estimated cost to renovate the building would be $4.4 to $5.2 million. Piccolo said STEL is looking at all options depending on what it can get funding for. The next round of applications is due in February.

The old school was purchased by a private owner but no taxes have been paid on the property in many years. The county has not taken full legal responsibility for the property but has plans to do so in order to sell it to STEL when it secures grant funding.

This legal uncertainty puts the village in an awkward position in terms of possible injury and mowing the lawn on what is technically private property.

The board also tabled the resignation of Paul Fisher, who was recently hired part-time until village water operators obtain their licenses, for further discussion. Piccolo can sign off on water testing until one of the operators is tested for his license.

Piccolo also reported two interested parties in the reservoir property. However, after discussing liability with the Department of Environmental Conservation, the village would still be liable if the dam breaks even after the property was sold. The village still intends to get a new assessment on the property and timber.

Half of the water meters set to be replaced have been done. Residents are still urged to call to make an appointment to have their meter changed if they were sent a letter to do so but have not called yet.

The board will next meet on Monday, Jan. 21.

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