Champlain Valley Tech building trades instructor Kevin Shaw, left, shakes hands with students at the June dedication of the renovated Moriah court house. Classes from Yandon Dillon Educational Center in Mineville built the addition to the court house for the town.
After nearly two decades on the road, Moriah’s town board meetings will return home in 2012.
The meetings will be held at the newly expanded and renovated court building, adjacent to the town hall at Park Place in Port Henry.
“We haven’t held regular board meetings on town property in a long time,” Supervisor Tom Scozzafava said. “It’s going to be nice to be back.”
With Scozzafava and Moriah trustees placing an emphasis on open government and public participation, attendance at town board meetings in the late 1980s and 1990s grew to the point meetings could no longer be held in the supervisor’s chambers.
To accommodate crowds at town board meetings, the conclaves were moved to larger buildings in the community. During the past 20 years the meetings have been held at the Moriah Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in Mineville, the Moriah fire house, the former Republic Steel building in Mineville, the Iron Center museum in Port Henry and, most recently, the Knights of Columbus in Port Henry.
“We’re very appreciative to all the community organizations throughout the years,” Scozzafava said. “They’ve been very helpful.”
Moriah has paid $75 a month for the use of a meeting hall for its meetings. Returning to it own building, the town will no longer spend that $900 a year.
The first meeting at the courthouse will be Thursday, Nov. 10. The building is not yet handicap accessible, but the Knights of Columbus is not available on that date forcing Moriah trustees to make a move. The December town board meeting will likely be at the Knights of Columbus, Scozzafava said, with all meetings at the court building starting in January.
It’s been three years in the making, but the town of Moriah has a renovated, expanded court thanks to a group of students.
Champlain Valley Tech students constructed an 864-square-foot addition on the Moriah court, helping the town meet a state mandate and giving the community an updated structure.
New York State had mandated court expansion in Moriah since 2008. Steven Gold of the New York State Office of Court Administration told the Moriah town board in June 2008 its 12x14-foot room that served as Moriah town court was inadequate and needed to be addressed.
The town had plans to erect its own modular building to house its court and police department adjacent to the town hall at Park Place in Port Henry. That project was shelved when the cost soared. Originally expected to cost about $170,000, estimates for a new court building reached as high as $500,000 because of state regulations and mandates.
Town trustees then considered several short-term solutions to the court situation, before deciding to ask CV Tech to construct an addition.
Scozzafava said the court project, with the help of students, cost the town about $50,000. The project was financed by a grant from the state Office of Court Administration.
This is not the first time CV Tech students have gained experience while helping Moriah residents. They built an entire home as part of a low-income housing project two years ago. They’ve also built the town trash transfer station building and erected an addition on the town water treatment plant that included installation of garage doors.