Local News

Hardening Town Hall

LAKE PLACID - You could write your name in the dust on the tables in Town Hall, Town Manager Phil Williams declared.

The dust and disruption is only a temporary condition in the building that houses the town council chambers and town offices.

Workers are upgrading town hall to improve its resistance to storms and hurricanes.

"They are redoing the roof right now and we have a plastic curtain/veil surrounding the first 5 feet of every wall in town hall," Williams said. "It's like a dusty, dry-wall type of dust floating around in the air here and rumbling and bumping."

Williams and utility director administrative assistant Pam Pelletier relocated temporarily from their offices into the town council chambers.

Pelletier spoke on the phone Friday morning while about 25 feet away a worker swung a sledge hammer to pound out the outside doorway's metal frame, which was being replaced.

The reinforcement project started about two months ago, but it was discovered that more extensive work was needed on the roof, Williams explained. Before the work could resume, changes were required in the FEMA grant that was funding the project.

"That took a long time so they weren't doing anything up there during that time," he said. "So we are back to work now after all that."

Utility Director Gary Freeman said there were many parts to the FEMA grant. The town hall upgrading portion of the grant is $135,355. Also, the grant funded a $70,000, 175-kilowatt electrical generator that was installed behind town hall.

"It's been ready for a month or so," he said. "We can actually use it if we needed to."

The new generator has extra capacity to accommodate any future expansion at town hall, Freeman said. Previously, town hall did not have a permanent generator, but a portable unit was available for emergency use.

The other parts of the grant funded work at one of the town's wastewater plants and paid for the installation of a new lift station, he said.

Freeman said he spoke to the contractor Friday, who said the work is scheduled to be completed in about a month.

"I am somewhat displaced; I am not as bad as the others," he said. An outside door is being replaced in his office.

"The whole building is being disrupted, to say the least," Freeman said with a laugh.

Though it is not quite business as usual for the town employees, town hall is open to the public who have town business.

Due to the construction work, Monday's town council meeting has been rescheduled for 5:30 p.m., Feb. 17.