LAKE GEORGE - After a year of controversy, several public hearings and at times angry confrontations, the fate of the former Cavalcade of Cars building on the West Brook environmental park plot is likely to be decided Friday.
Although taxpayers have heard this before, county Supervisors pledged at a meeting Friday that they were going to adhere to their self-imposed deadline to decide the building's future, because if a decision isn't made within several weeks, grant money may not be available for its demolition.
Proponents of demolition have argued that the Cavalcade building is obsolete and interferes with the purpose of the park, which is envisioned to host walkways, outdoor festivals while purifying stormwater through a series of wetlands. They also have contended that reconstruction and maintenance costs, shouldered by local taxpayers, would not be recovered by rental fees or boosted sales tax receipts.
Others, including leading business owners, Chamber of Commerce leaders, local tourism officials, Lake George town council members and leaders of about half the upcounty towns, have contended the building is a viable venue for trade shows and events as well as weddings and community functions. The rehabilitated building would boost the local economy, they have said.
Lake George Supervisor Frank McCoy has proposed upgrading the building with a new Adirondack-themed facade, and he's cited cost quotes of less than $300,000.
But a county tourism study report released Friday determined that at least $1 million would have to be spent to make Cavalcade a viable, attractive venue.
The report, prepared by ConsultEcon of Massachusetts, cited that Cavalcade was obsolete and unusable without substantial reconstruction. The report added that rebuilding would cost about as much as new construction.
Others have consistently disputed such figures, saying they're inflated. McCoy has said that the town of Lake George - or perhaps private interests - would fund the upgrades, as the county has gone on record it wont spend any money on the building's renovation.
Business leaders at Friday's meeting continued to support saving the building, which features a steel superstructure and a solid concrete pad, which would cost far more at a later date to replace. They've also contended that while renovation is now legally viable, changing environmental statutes might block new construction on the site.
The business leaders talked about collectively raising money to pay for its rehabilitation if a legal leasing arrangement could be worked out with the town, the county and the village who are joint tenants on the property and own the land along with environmental groups.
When Bolton Supervisor Ron Conover suggested delaying a vote so the county could weigh the new proposals of private investments, tempers flared as Gaslight Ad-Hoc Committee chairman Bill Kenny injected a sarcastic remark and Horicon Supervisor Ralph Bentley told Kenny he was out of order - and Kenny then responded he didn't think it was his his job to make such a determination.
Talk circulated about whether the town might sue the county and village to block demolition, but McCoy has maintained his board would not support such an option.
But with a grant-funding deadline approaching, and demolition of other structures at the site to begin in about three weeks, the supervisors decided to make a final decision on Friday at a meeting that begins at 9:30 a.m. Their decision will be subject to approval of the full Board of Supervisors Sept. 17.
Bill Kenny quipped the Sept. 10 meeting on the fate of Cavalcade might be contentious.
"I'll bring the Band-Aids, gauze and Mercurochrome, " he said.