To the Editor:
The Town of Potsdam has purchased 18 Elm Street with the intent of razing the existing historic house in order to construct a new town hall. Destruction of this building will result in both the loss of a historic house and an enormous waste of tax dollars with the construction of what seems to be an unnecessary new town hall. Taxpayers have already spoken by voting no to a new town hall just two years ago.
I would argue that the Town of Potsdam should not have purchased 18 Elm Street. Two years ago the proposed building of a new $3.2 million town hall on Lawrence Avenue was voted down by permissive referendum. This time, taxpayers will be required to pay for the removal of a house that many people would prefer to try to save. While the town board may have interpreted the “no” vote in 2008 as voter dissatisfaction with the planned location, I voted “no” because the current building is sufficient with remodeling and the price of new construction is exorbitant. The town hall holds very few offices, and court space could be shared with the village. The town could use their former court space to expand into if they need more room. Potsdam is also conducting a village dissolution study. I believe the town board should not consider further action on this property before this issue has been resolved. If the village is dissolved, there will likely be reorganization that may result in more available office space.
I would like the town to do one of three things:
• Place 18 Elm back on the market for sale.
• Agree to lease the building to an organization or individual who is interested in its rehabilitation and who would take responsibility for it, for some nominal, symbolic cost.
• Come to some agreement with the village for development of the property to become the site of a new museum, library, or visitor’s center.
If you agree with any of these points, please contact the town board. Marie Regan’s e-mail is [email protected]. We are running out of time to stop the destruction of 18 Elm and the loss of even more tax dollars. Please act now.
Rachel H. Wallace