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Gaslight Opera House's future now in question

"To up and destroy a 14,000 square foot building would be disgusting," Tessier said, referring to the Cavalcade building.

Monday night, the Lake George Village Board, which to date has supported demolition, took a U-turn on the issue. They voted to support renovation of the Cavalcade of Cars building - if the work was accomplished at no cost to the village.

Village Mayor Robert Blais, however, blasted the engineering study which cost $15,000. He said it was cursory and hadn't presented a summary recommendation, and that the engineers didn't meet in advance with the municipal leaders as was expected.

County budget officer Kevin Geraghty said the county needed to make a decision and move forward.

"We need to make a plan and stick to it," county Budget Officer Kevin Geraghty said in apparent frustration. "Spending this kind of money on renovations will never get the support of the board and you know it - from what I am hearing from people we need to tear these buildings down."

Lake George Association Executive Director Walt Lender said that demolition of the buildings could easily be added to the grant.

The idea looked attractive to county Board of Supervisors Chairman Fred Monroe.

"We have a chance to get rid of these buildings at no cost to the county," he said. "I am not prepared to spend $400,000 or $500,000 on rehabbing either of these buildings."

Tessier, who has argued for saving the buildings with an aim of boosting the local economy, vented his frustration.

"Why does everything have to turn into a federal case?" he asked.

Tessier contended the buildings could be renovated quickly and cheaply if town and county labor was used. If renovated, Tessier said, the buildings would bring attract large-scale events and thousands of tourists annually.

"The engineer has a roof for the Cavalcade of Cars listed in this report as costing $121,000 to fix," Tessier said. "I already did it for $9,200 in materials - where the hell did these numbers come from?"

The 12-acre West Brook parcel is owned by Warren County, the Town of Lake George and the Village of Lake George through an inter-municipal agreement. In early 2008, Warren County contributed approximately $1.3 million toward the purchase.

The purpose of the conservation initiative is to filter impurities from stormwater flowing off roadways and parking lots down West Brook before they spill into Lake George.

Journal Editor Thom Randall contributed to this report.

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