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Gaslight buyout agreement pending

Thursday afternoon, a draft of a press release from the Warren County administrator's office surfaced, citing that representatives of the county, the Village of Lake George, the Town and the environmental groups met Friday, and that all believe a purchase agreement is possible.

"The parties will be working on a draft agreement over the next several days, and in view of the belief that an agreement is possible, the Town will hold a special meeting - to discuss a resolution that would allow the demolition of the buildings on the south side and the bathrooms on the north said to go forward immediately," the statement read.

Those involved in the negotiations declined to identify the tentative price of the pending buyout. The Town invested $350,000 in 2008 as their part of the purchase price of the property, to be developed into an environmental park which will include wetlands that purify stormwater that now runs into Lake George.

The three municipalities bought into the project after negotiating near total control over a 2.5 acre festival space, including the option to keep and restore buildings there as event venues. The county and town had planned to rehabilitate Cavalcade into an events center, but the Village backed off after the adjacent Fort William Henry resort, which also has event and convention space, objected to the project.

Fort William Henry's objection was echoed by the Lake George Steamboat Co. and the Lake George Citizen's Group, although 50 or so other businesses signed petitions supporting it. The Lake George Chamber of Commerce had advocated the building's redevelopment, noting that it would boost commerce and create jobs.

Lake George Town Supervisor Frank McCoy had presented two sets of architect's drawings, the latest set last Friday, showing the building with an Adirondack Great Camp facade. He and others envisioned the building hosting drama productions, trade shows and special interest expos - all drawing tourists to the area.

But the county Supervisors didn't even discuss the latest plans on Sept. 17, they voted to demolish the steel-frame structure, one that an engineer said was worth about $750,000 and worthy of saving.

Monroe said Friday afternoon he is looking forward to putting the contentious Gaslight issues to rest.

"It's been a long road," he said. "People have had strongly held beliefs, and I'm happy we've made progress."

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