State to offer Camp Gabriels

BRIGHTON - New York State is making its first active effort to sell one of the area's most recently closed prisons.

Carla Chiaro, acting commissioner of the state Office of General Services, announced Oct. 18 the OGS will conduct a sealed bid auction for the former Camp Gabriels Correctional Facility near Paul Smiths.

The minimum-security prison, which the state closed in May 2009 amidst budget cutbacks, has sat vacant and unused since then, much to the dismay of local officials.

"We're hopeful that it will be put to some use that will be beneficial to the town," said Brighton town supervisor John Quenell.

The town formed a citizens committee in January to consider possible new uses and identify perspective buyers for the facility, but Quenell said nothing too promising has come up thus far.

"I think, at this point, we just need to wait and hope for the best," he added. "I think the state is determined to sell the property."

Quenell said the town has considered acquiring the facility, which it is allowed to do by law if it can develop and execute a plan for its development as a municipal facility.

"There's a very small likelihood the town would even be interested in it," said Quenell, "so I think the chances are good that it will end up in private hands."

Still, Quenell said, the site represents a big risk to potential buyers due to its sheer size and some very precarious unknowns.

The 92-acre site features 48 separate buildings including storage buildings, three circa-1927 dormitories, a gymnasium, and a 100-year-old chapel.

"It's just an awfully big bite for anyone who might be interested in it," Quenell said, adding some of the aging buildings may need asbestos or lead paint remediation.

OGS has set a minimum bid of $950,000 for the auction, and is requiring a 10-percent deposit to accompany all sealed bids.

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