By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media
COEYMANS — The town board will hold a public hearing June 23 at 6 p.m. to gather community input on the proposal to build a new town hall.
If ultimately approved, the new building would be a two-story, 12,000-square-foot structure built on the same parcel of land as the current building, which is located at 18 Russell Ave., Ravena.
The current town hall building, which was once an American Legion Hall, would be demolished after construction on the new structure is complete.
The resolution to set the public hearing was approved at the board’s May 26 meeting by a unanimous vote of the three attending board members. Councilmen Brandon Lefevre and Stephen Schmitt were absent, but the three board members in attendance — Town Supervisor George McHugh and Councilwomen Linda Bruno and Marisa Tutay — constituted a quorum.
A second resolution adopted May 26 declared the town board the lead agency in the project for purposes of the mandated State Environmental Quality Review Act process.
Construction of a new town hall has been under consideration for a couple of years, with the board broaching the issue in 2019.
McHugh outlined the history of the project at the board’s April 14 meeting and said the board considered several options that were deemed unfeasible — sharing space at the village hall, staying at the existing town hall building, and coming up with a design for a new town hall at an alternate location on Route 9W.
None of those options were determined to be acceptable, he said. There is not enough room for the town offices to share space at Ravena’s village hall, it would be difficult to expand on the current building to provide additional space and to become compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act, and the new location was deemed too expensive and did not have sewer access, McHugh said at the April 14 meeting.
“So we took the fourth step and we asked the town engineers to provide a conceptual design of what a new town hall on this parcel of property would look like, and that is where we’re at right now,” he added.
Plans, including a price tag, are still preliminary and have yet to be determined, McHugh said, but he expects the town’s fund balance to pay for at least half the cost of the new building.
If the new town hall is approved, it would have two stories, with the Coeymans Police Department, including its own separate entrance, on one side of the building, and the town clerk, assessor and building departments on the other side of the first floor, according to the preliminary building plans.
The second story would include a town court that can seat 50 to 60 people and could double as a meeting space for the town board. The second floor would also house the town supervisor’s office and office space for the justices and court clerk.
An elevator is included in the plans to be ADA-compliant.
The site would have 80 to 90 parking spaces and an electronic sign outside the building to post community notices, engineer Chris Dooley told the board when he presented the plans April 14.
If the project is approved, construction is expected to take between 12 and 14 months. The existing town hall would remain open and operational during construction and once the new building is completed, it would be razed and the space converted to a parking lot.
The goal is to finalize the plans by the end of this year and put the project out to bid in January 2023, with the groundbreaking to take place in April of next year.