Investigator Dan LaFrance stands outside the Ticonderoga Police Department on Burgoyne Road. Ticonderoga officials have long discussed moving the police downtown, but accelerated the discussion in December 2009 when structural issues arose at the police headquarters on Burgoyne Road.
Efforts to move the Ticonderoga Police Department have hit a snag.
After a residents committee and the town board believed they had found a way to move the police headquarters to the former Rite Aid building on Montcalm Street, a state law was discovered that has placed the plan on hold.
Supervisor Deb Malaney explained the old Rite Aid building is larger than what the town of Ticonderoga needs for its police department. The town had planned to rent the building and sub-lease some of the extra space to help defray the rental costs.
“We can’t do it,” Malaney said. “There’s a state law that prevents us from renting more space than we need. We can’t sub-lease.”
A citizens committee — that includes trustee Steve Whitford, Police Chief Mark Johns, Ross Kelley, Rolly Allen, Margaret Lauman, Dave Woods and Sharon Reynolds — had recommended leasing the former Rite Aid building and renovating it.
The committee studied square footage and availability of buildings in the community, parking, location, flexibility to expand if the need arises and costs.
Ticonderoga officials have long discussed moving the police downtown but accelerated the discussion in December 2009 when structural issues arose at the police headquarters.
The nearly 70-year-old concrete block structure on Burgoyne Avenue developed a large crack from the foundation up the center of the back wall raising questions about the building’s future.
In January 2010, local officials began talks with the owner of the former Rite Aid building on Montcalm Street in hopes of relocating the police department.
The former Rite Aid building has an assessed value of $403,000, which makes it too expensive for the town to purchase. The building has 7,800 square feet.
According to the committee report, Comm Net Lease Realty, the Florida-based company that owns the building, will rent the building to the town for $18,500 a year. The panel estimated utilities would cost $15,000 a year, insurance $3,000 and renovation $10,000. The renovation would be financed with a no-interest loan. The committee estimated the total cost of housing the police in the former Rite Aid would be $46,500 in 2013.
The building has more space than the police department needs, according to the committee. The group felt the extra space could be converted into three offices that could generate $22,000 in income for the town.
That income along with the $15,000 budgeted for the current police station, means it would cost the town $9,000 a year more to have the police department located on Montcalm Street, the committee claimed.
That plan is now on hold, though, because of the state regulation that will not allow the town to sub-lease the additional space.
“We’ve turned the matter over to the town attorney,” Malaney said. “I’m optimistic we will be able to do something. It would be a real help to the transformation of our downtown. Our businesses, our downtown investors, a lot of people want to see a police presence downtown. I think it’s a key to our future.”
In case the old Rite Aid building plan can’t become reality, Malaney said town officials have to begin thinking about other options.
“There are structural issues at the police station and we have to be prepared to move them,” she said. “We may need to go to Plan B.”
At this point there is no Plan B, she said, although town officials are working on various scenarios.
The police commission previously investigated other possibilities and found them lacking. The Armory was excluded for police use since it houses youth activities and police don’t want children and criminals in the same building. The downstairs of the Community Building was excluded because of lack of space and parking.