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Moriah, Port Henry venture unlikely

PORT HENRY Plans for a joint municipal building to house town of Moriah and village of Port Henry services have hit a snag. Moriah is facing a June 23 deadline to have plans in place for a new court, while Port Henry is not yet ready to proceed with its fire house. As a result, Moriah will likely erect its own modular building to house its court and police department adjacent to the town hall at Park Place in Port Henry. That means Port Henry will be on its own to build a fire house. Moriah and Port Henry officials had been discussing a joint municipal building to house town police and court along with the Port Henry village fire department on land now targeted for the new court building. It sounds like youre very far away from breaking ground on a fire house, Moriah Super-visor Tom Scozzafava told Port Henry trustees during a joint meetings of the town and village boards May 20. We need to do something about a court house now. That was bad news for Port henry officials. Thats not good for us, Port Henry Mayor Gary Cooke said. Our ability to get (grant) money is predicated on shared services. Cooke and Port Henry trustee Jim Hughes both said a joint project will better serve the town than a modular building. Perhaps, Scozzafava said, but the town is facing a deadline that must be met. Moriah Justice Brian Venne explained he has been working with the state Office of Court Administration for two years to secure grant money for a new court building. The state has offered $87,000 but only if Moriah acts by June 23. Two years have passed since the state first said our court is inadequate and nothing has been done, Venne said. Now its D-Day. Scozzafava said the state will pay for about 70 percent of the new building, but only if the town has filed blueprints with the state by June 23. I would hate to see that money lost, Venne said. Hughes said the Moriah board decision may impact the village. Your cost-effective solution may negatively impact our proposal, he said. Scozzafava told Cooke he believes the village can still find grant money for a new fire house. But even if Port Henry can find grant money for a new fire station, there may be another problem. Will there be room on the site for both the 38 x 66 foot court building and a 80 x 120 foot fire house? That may depend on exactly where the court building is placed and how the fire station is oriented. Hughes, who is also second assistant chief of the Port Henry FD, and Port Henry FD Chief George Daly expressed doubts the two buildings can co-exist. Scozzafava said the town board will decide on an exact location for the court building so village officials can then have their architect review the site. We need to find out if this property is feasible, Scozzafava said. Im confident the village of Port Henry can find the money to build the fire house. What you need is a site. Moriah resident Bernard Beebe suggested the proposed site may not be suitable for a fire house, regardless of size. He pointed out there is a museum, town hall, court, senior citizen building and park all located at Park Place. Thats too much activity, he said, for emergency vehicles such as fire trucks to navigate.

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