The Town of Cobleskill is moving its offices back downtown.
Though it hasn’t yet closed on the 107 Union Street property, the town has agreed to purchase and repair the building that until May housed the Tri-County Arts Council and before that, Natural Food and More, and hopes to move in by year’s end.
“There’s been a lot of talk over the years about moving the town and village offices back downtown,” said Supervisor Roger Cohn. “It’s a good opportunity.”
The building needs new heating and air conditioning systems, and other work; the Arts Council had hoped to purchase the building from owners Anne Hendrix and Jane Whitbeck before the state’s budget crisis slashed its funding, and had already drawn up plans for the needed renovations, Mr. Cohn said.
The town has been a tenant at the former Crossroads Barn at Shad Point since moving out of space it rented from the Community Library, just across Union Street from where it’s moving now.
More recently, a study that looked at combining town and village offices at the village’s Mineral Springs Road building determined there wouldn’t be enough space for both.
The 107 Union Street property has 5,300 square-feet, Mr. Cohn said, more than the town needs, so they’ll be keeping an open layout, using partitions rather than walls, as they settle in.
“We’ll be like a b-b in a boxcar for a while,” Mr. Cohn said, though he pointed out that some of that space will also be taken up by town records now housed at a couple of other spots.
Mr. Cohn credited Councilman Linda Angell with suggesting the Union Street site in April; they moved quickly to purchase it, he said, in part because prime real estate locations downtown can move quickly.
The building isn’t in a Historic District; facade renovations probably won’t begin until 2010, Mr. Cohn said.
“We want to move back to the village,” he added.
“We hope this is something that will bring people downtown. You pay your taxes, then you go to Coby’s for a coffee...It’s going to be a fine project.”
The town is currently paying $22,000 a year, including utilities, at Shad Point, and has approved borrowing $150,000 for the purchase and up to another $150,000 for the renovations—which will be done over time.
Over 15 years, that’s about $22,000 a year plus utilities, Mr. Cohn said.