Knox tour reveals need for simple repairs and infrastructure overhauls

Knox Supervisor Vasilios Lefkaditis

The Enterprise — H. Rose Schneider
Knox Supervisor Vasilios Lefkaditis, far right, speaks to other board members on the facilities tour in the town-hall basement, where the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system needs to be repaired.

KNOX — A tour of facilities in the town of Knox on Tuesday morning revealed a number of repairs that are needed — ranging from simple repairs to entire system overhauls. This is the second year in a row the town board has toured Knox facilities with an eye to make improvements

The highway garage

“The entire building has some serious electrical issues — serious electrical issues,” said Supervisor Vasilios Lefkaditis of the town highway garage on Route 146. A majority of the outlets are not grounded, and the circuits are not properly run through the building.

However, he added that an overhaul of the electrical system could not be done immediately due to the cost.

Additionally, the building is not insulated and has visible leaks in the roof. Highway Superintendent Gary Salisbury said at best the building can be heated to 50 degrees when outside temperatures are in the low teens. Councilwoman Amy Pokorny heads a committee that has prepared a $100,000 grant application that would insulate the garage. (See related story and editorial.)

During the tour, Lefkaditis said he’d like to see solar panels used to power the highway department.

 

The Enterprise — H. Rose Schneider
The town of Knox’s facilities tour included a stop at the highway garage, which lacks insulation or a generator. Taking in the tour are, from left to right, Councilwoman Amy Pokorny, Councilman Daniel Hanley, highway worker James Schager, Highway Superintendent Gary Salisbury, and town supervisor Vasilios Lefkaditis.

 

In the back room of the garage, Lefkaditis turned on the sink’s tap, pointing out that the garage’s water leaves behind an oily residue if used. Salisbury said he isn’t sure why the water is that way.

 

The Enterprise — H. Rose Schneider
Beware: Supervisor Vasilios Lefkaditis, right, turns on the highway department’s tap, warning Councilman Daniel Hanley not to touch it because it leaves behind an oily residue.

 

Lefkaditis said that Albany county would like to share facilities with the town. The county’s public works department has a garage farther up Route 146, and there is a possibility a large building with separate areas could be set up for the town and county to use.

“All of this is preliminary,” he said. “It’s just a concept.”

The town is also considering moving the large wooden barn that sits outside of the highway garage, close to Route 146, to another location, such as the town park.

Beyond the shed, the driveway into the area has been washed out at times because the storm sewer isn’t reaching the creek across the road.

Town Hall

The town hall, on Route 156 in the hamlet, is relatively new — the original town hall was upgraded and greatly expanded in 2009.

Most of the needed repairs in the town hall are simple fixes — adding new locks to doors and putting sturdier shelves in offices, for example. In the room where court and other meetings are held, there is an area where the town court would like to secure detainees. Lefkaditis said this can be paid for with grant money following a court assessment review. Ideas to hold detainees in court include a shackle or a metal bar secured to the wall.

 

The Enterprise — H. Rose Schneider
Files are stacked on shelves in the Knox town hall basement. Councilwoman Amy Pokorny said that the shelves are too weak to bear most of the physical records.

 

In the town hall basement, a flood removed the seal on the tile floor, causing tiles to crack and shift. The flood also caused mold to grow. A contractor removed much of the mold in the basement last year, but some paper records stored in the basement became moldy and have to be removed. The removal would be covered with grant money should the grant go through.

 

The Enterprise — H. Rose Schneider
A book containing marriage and death records from 1847 to 1849 is stored in the basement of the Knox Town Hall.

 

Other files have aged past the retention period and should be removed, said Pokorny; some files go back to the 1840s. A contractor would have to be hired to go through the records due to the presence of mold.

Lefkaditis said a new thermostat should be put in and the heating and cooling system should be repaired, explaining that it doesn’t properly heat or cool the building.

Outside the town hall, Lefkaditis pointed out siding that was damaged by rocks flying out of maintenance supervisor Lou Saddlemire’s lawnmower. Last year, county jail inmates removed rocks from the area around the building, but the building still has chipped siding, as well as some damage from falling ice.

The maintenance shed

The maintenance shed, which sits behind town hall in the town park, was opened up to reveal many items stored behind its garage doors — dog cages, old paint, traffic cones, signs and decorations from past festivals, and a bright green John Deere mower. The first step, said Lefkaditis, would be to take inventory of the items, and then sell unneeded items on something like an eBay account.

“I know a high school kid right now that needs 20 hours of community service working in a town on the Hill,” said Councilman Daniel Hanley, volunteering his son for the job.

 

The Enterprise — H. Rose Schneider
Items are piled inside the Knox park maintenance shed.

 

The playground and pavilion

Behind the town hall is the Knox town park, which includes a playground, a basketball and tennis court, a baseball diamond, and a pavilion. With precipitation running off the higher elevation where the town hall sits towards the park, the ground has experienced heaving. The one spot with proper drainage is the tennis courts, which is where a new playground would be located, if grant money comes through.

The transfer station

At the transfer station, on Street Road, which was built where the town’s dump was formerly located, the area below the small main building that holds the trash hopper has experienced cracking in the cement walls and a collapsing retaining wall.

The town also needs to find a means of storing items left behind by residents in the hopes others will pick them up. Currently these items are stacked outside of Dumpsters or the main building.

 

The Enterprise — H. Rose Schneider
Knox’s transfer station is currently suffering from bowing and cracking in the cement-walled area below where a hopper for trash is held. 

 

The historical society

The historical society’s building, which sits in front of the town hall, was not visited on the tour, but Councilman Dennis Barber, president of the historical society, said he would like to see a new security system put in place, there. After last year’s tour, board members and the supervisor said the historical society’s building, the old Saddlemire Homestead, on Route 156 in the hamlet, was in the best shape of any of the town’s buildings.

 

More Hilltowns News

  • The Rensselaerville Post Office is expected to move to another location within the 12147 ZIP code, according to a United States Postal Service flier, and the public is invited to submit comments on the proposal by mail. 

  • Determining the median income of the Rensselaerville water district will potentially make the district eligible for more funding for district improvement projects, since it’s believed that the water district may have a lower median income than the town overall.

  • Anthony Esposito, who lost his house along State Route 145 in Rensselaerville when an SUV crashed into it, setting it on fire, said he had made several requests for guide rails because he had long been concerned about cars coming off the road. The New York State Department of Transportation said that it has no record of any requests.

The Altamont Enterprise is focused on hyper-local, high-quality journalism. We produce free election guides, curate readers' opinion pieces, and engage with important local issues. Subscriptions open full access to our work and make it possible.