Bidding soon to begin for new Town Hall
AMENIA — It’s been more than a year since Amenia’s town offices moved to the new Town Hall. The relocation from the Amenia firehouse, a 2,500-square-foot space, to the old Amenia Elementary School, a 26,000-square-foot space, was a big, but necessary, change.
However, now the new Town Hall needs its own improvements to ensure the longevity of the building.
“We own this building and there is just an awful lot that needs to be done to curb its huge appetite for fuel, oil and energy. We are revamping the Town Hall starting with a New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) grant we got in April of 2010,” Councilwoman Vicki Doyle said.
NYSERDA is a state program that provides low-interest loans and grants in exchange for entities reducing energy consumption through conservation measures. At the Town Board meeting on Thursday, Jan. 19, board members said the NYSERDA grant was approved and that bidding would begin the following week. The town paid $12,000 to have NYSERDA conduct an energy audit, a prerequisite for the grant.
“It gave us basically the tools we needed to go ahead and continue planning for proposed upgrades and energy conservation measures,” Doyle said.
These new improvements include everything from changing light bulbs to insulation, windows and air conditioning. Some of the new improvements to the Town Hall are being paid out of the town’s coffers, said Doyle. The town committed another $20,000 for their matching contribution to the project. The board predicts that the total for this project will range anywhere between $90,000 to $100,000 in order to make the improvements.
“It’s been a process that has been going on for years,” said Bill Flood, town supervisor. “The preliminary bids will be pre-construction; the pre-bidding meeting will be on Saturday, the 28th or Sunday, the 29th of January. Then the site visit with the contractors will be done.”
Plans for bigger holiday celebrations
Board members discussed changing how the town holds its holiday celebrations. Currently there are four separate holiday celebrations: in Amenia, South Amenia, Wassaic and at the Town Hall. The Town Board is discussing now how to consolidate the holiday celebrations into one big event.
“We are trying to build up the one in Amenia,” said Doyle. “An event like that would attract people from out of town and we think we can do that with a parade like the other towns around this area have. We are trying to bring traffic here for the businesses and then have a big finale at the Town Hall.”
The parade would potentially start on Mechanic Street and work it’s way up to the Town Hall, where participants could enjoy food, sledding and other activities.
The town used to have a horse-drawn wagon during the holiday celebrations, however it was very expensive and too difficult to pull off with the different organizations involved. However, with the larger Town Hall the town is able to accommodate more people for a big town-wide event.
“We think this might change the dynamic and make a much bigger, more family-friendly and more participatory event,” said Doyle. “People could bring anything motorized like a go-kart, hay wagons, tractors — anything anybody has that they can decorate for the parade.”
The holiday celebrations traditionally include a tree lighting and a visit from Santa at the town library. Doyle said this is a lovely event for local families who are used to the tradition, however the potential for a parade can appeal to more people.
“We think that if your kids are not doing Santa anymore there wasn’t a lot of participation other than to see our tree lit,” said Doyle. “Which is nice, but we think we can make it bigger by adding a buffet reception and then really get help from the Amenia Fire Company.”