The town of Guilderland owns 30 buildings

Construction of the new pool house at Tawasentha Park is almost complete. 

GUILDERLAND — The Town of Guilderland recently sent out a notice seeking instructors to teach classes — in ballet, tai chi, yoga, or just about anything — in what it still refers to as the Ballet Barn, the former home of the Guilderland Ballet.

It turns out the town owns 30 buildings, most of them with a particular purpose, although some — like a large Colonial-style home on the golf course — haven’t had a use identified yet.

Town Supervisor Peter Barber said that it would be hard to determine how much it costs to maintain each one per year — doing so would require town officials to find old National Grid bills for each one.

He was able to list almost all of the buildings off the top of his head, from east to west, and describe their use. He missed just one: Parks Maintenance, across the street on Route 146 from the Parks and Recreation Department.

Coincidentally, since becoming supervisor in January, Barber has been making it a point to make a personal survey, visiting each building and learning about its history and use. He is doing the same thing for all of the lands the town owns, he said.

There are several buildings not included in this list because they are not owned, or not completely owned, by the town.

One is the Crounse House, located at 759 Route 146, at the corner of Gun Club Road; this was purchased a decade ago for $40,000, which was the amount of back taxes owed on the property. The town paid half of that amount; the village of Altamont paid the other half.

The other is the senior center — largely completed — located at the Mill Hollow development off Frenchs Mill Road, across Western Avenue from Town Hall. The senior center, Barber said, will start out as a lease, and the town will have the option to take on “ownership interest” if and when the Mill Hollow development converts to a condominium.

The police department also maintains a substation within Crossgates Mall.


 

 

McKownville Reservoir Building (records storage unit)

1515 Western Ave., Guilderland

This is a tan building with light blue shutters just west of the Route 20 entrance to Stuyvesant Plaza, used for storage of various town records. The only people who ever go there, Barber said, are town “records people.” This is “one of the few” he hasn’t been to yet, Barber said, “but I understand there are a lot of boxes in there.”

It’s the former site of the Guilderland Chamber of Commerce, said Linda Cure, public relations officer with the town’s Parks and Recreation Department, who added that the pond next to the building was formerly the McKownville Reservoir.

There is no staff stationed at the building, said Barber.

He noted that the building —which is regulated by State Archives and Records Administration — is fully climate-controlled: heated in winter and air conditioned in summer. There is a red bulb on the outside of the building that indicates if the temperature drops too high or low.


 

 

Schoolcraft House

2299 Western Ave., Guilderland

Renovation of the first floor has recently been completed, Barber said, after many years. This is a low-use building, and one that the town wants to use only for historical purposes. The town does not want to rent it out for occasions like weddings, although it does rent it out to small groups with a historical or cultural focus.

Town Historian Alice Begley said that she is planning a series of lectures that will go through the end of 2016, “maybe once a month.” The series started on Sunday, April 24, at 2 p.m., with retired Assemblyman Jack McEneny speaking on area history.

The owner had planned to tear down the Schoolcraft House.

The Gothic Revival mansion was purchased in 1994 for $140,000, of which Guilderland paid half, while half was covered by a state grant. Guilderland covered closing costs. Then, in 1997, the restoration project received a grant of $29,000, which was matched, for a total of $58,000. The project later received a $50,000 member-item grant from then-Assemblyman McEneny. Friends of the Schoolcraft House organized numerous fundraisers, which generated over $7,000. According to the former supervisor, Kenneth Runion, the amount spent by Guilderland over two decades, as of 2013, was about $99,000, while the total spent by town and state combined was $248,000.

Barber said, because the records for the renovation are more than six years old, they were destroyed under the state’s record-retention policy. He noted that in the early years a state grant was used and supplemented by budget amounts, and that in more recent years, retired Parks employee Mark Huggins performed carpentry and artisan services.

At the May 3 meeting of the Guilderland Town Board, Barber mentioned that Begley is holding an informational meeting for people who might be interested in volunteering at the Schoolcraft House. The meeting is on Thursday, May 12, at 7 p.m., at the Schoolcraft House.


 

 

New York State Police Barracks (former town hall)

2 Willow Street, Guilderland

The structure at 2 Willow Street was built as a schoolhouse. After the Guilderland School District centralized, it became the town hall in 1957, until a new town hall was built in 1971 at its current location on Western Avenue. The old schoolhouse is now home to the New York State Police, Troop G.

According to Marcus Montgomery of the town’s comptroller’s office, in response to a Freedom of Information Law request, the State Police do not pay the town any rent for the use of the building.


 

 

Western Turnpike Golf Course

2350 Western Ave., Guilderland

Clubhouse and pro shop (with apartment)

The golf course has a number of buildings.

One building on the site is the main clubhouse, open to the public only during the golf season, said Gregory J. Wier, the town’s Parks/Western Turnpike Golf Course Maintenance supervisor. The season is weather-dependent, Wier said, but usually runs from about mid-April through Nov. 1 or so.

During the off-season, the clubhouse is open only for private events, catered by Mallozzi’s, said Wier; Mallozzi’s also runs the clubhouse restaurant during the golf season.

During the off-season, Wier said, the four full-time employees still work at the golf course. In winter, their work focuses on maintenance of the entrance road and the road at the banquet facility, maintenance of the ski trails and snowshoe trails, and general maintenance of all equipment.

“Winter,” he said, “is pretty much when we work on all of our equipment.”

Another building houses the pro shop. There is an apartment over the pro shop, which is rented out to the course’s golf professional, who stays there sometimes, Barber said.

Montgomery of the comptroller’s office said, in response to a FOIL request, that the rent paid on the apartment over the pro shop is $300 per month. Wier said that the golf pro pays this rent year-round, not just during the golf season.


 

 

Western Turnpike Golf Course

700 Arthur Place (large Colonial-style home)

200 Arthur Place (smaller, ranch-style home)

There are two residential homes located on the town-owned golf course.

One is a large Colonial-style home on the property, currently unoccupied, which was the home of the Satowski family, who sold the golf course to the town. Wier estimated the home at 2,500 to 2,800 square feet.

Barber said the Satowskis had a life estate in the property — a legal agreement that guarantees ownership until death — and that a family member had lived there until “a couple of years ago.”

The house currently has mold in the basement, Barber said. Work needs to be done inside and out, Wier said.

Wier said that the town has no plans to sell it — for instance, to a golf enthusiast — because it is “landlocked” by the golf course; there is no access other than the road that leads into the course.

The house, Wier said, is minimally heated in winter, to make sure that the pipes don’t freeze. It is not air-conditioned in summer, he said.

Barber called this building “a work-in-progress” and said that the town is trying to identify a use for it.

“I think once we have the house in good shape, then renting it out is something the town would absolutely consider,” said Wier.

The second residence on the golf course — the smaller, ranch-style home — is currently rented out, said Wier, to a town hall employee. Wier estimated the size of this smaller home at 1,500 square feet. The rent charged on this residence is, according to Marcus Montgomery of the comptroller’s office, $800 per month.


 

 

Ballet Barn

200 Timothy Way, Slingerlands

This building will open this summer for lessons taught by instructors contracted by the town, Cure said recently. “We’ve got several different instructors to do some classes there,” she said, “in dance and qi gong, and we hope to have yoga.”

The floor, which needs some repair, will be finished before June, she added. (See related story.)


 

 

Department of Water and Wastewater Management

6011 State Farm Road, Guilderland

This building houses the offices of the Water Department, according to Kim Edick, administrative aid. The office’s administrative staff are there, as are the foremen, the inspectors, and the superintendent, she said.


 

 

Nott Road Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant

6073 Nott Road, Guilderland

Tony Zaccardo is chief operator at this facility, which he says is Guilderland’s major domestic wastewater plant, treating much of the domestic wastewater from the town. He says that wastewater is “99.9 percent water, and 0.1 percent solids.” At Nott Road, the solids are pressed out, leaving an effluent that Zaccardo says is “very clean.”

“If you were to look at it,” he says, “and compare it to the water from the Town of Guilderland Water Treatment Plant, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.”

He describes it as “very clean,” although not drinkable.

The treated wastewater, he said, flows into the Normanskill, where “nature takes its course and everything recovers.” Some streams, he said, go back into the Watervliet Reservoir and return to residents as drinking water, after being treated.


 

 

 

Tawasentha Park Pool House

188 Route 146, Altamont

The town voted last year to rebuilt the pool house after it was destroyed by a fire on June 21, 2015. No one was injured in the fire, which was contained to the pool house.

The total cost of construction of the new pool house, from the bid contracts, is $777,800 —more than three-quarters of a million dollars — according to Wier. Barber said that, since the work is still ongoing, the total figure could still change.

The target opening date for the pool and pool house is June 16, said Cure, but the actual opening is likely to be June 18, partly because of the need to complete the pool house and partly because of staffing. “We usually open in mid-June,” she added.


 

 

 

Guilderland Parks and Recreation Department

181 Route 146, Altamont and

Parks Maintenance Building

188 Route 146, Altamont

The Parks and Recreation Department building is well known to Guilderland residents, since those wishing to use town parks including Tawasentha go to this office to get stickers for their cars to allow them free access. This office’s staff is in charge of all town parks and runs the town’s summer camp program.

The office is located in the old Inga Barth’s flower shop, and still has the attached greenhouse from that period. Cure, the department’s public relations officer, said that the staff gardener uses the greenhouse in springtime for her seedlings, which she later moves to various town parks. The greenhouse becomes too hot in summer, she said, and is mainly used in spring.

Across the street is Parks Maintenance, an inconspicuous small building that sits back at the end of a long drive. There are two garages directly behind it, and another across from it.

Wier said that there are three or four full-time employees who work at Parks and Recreation, “coming and going,” and about five or six at Parks Maintenance, for a total of nine at the two buildings.

Cure added that the town also has a crew of seasonal employees numbering about 100, including lifeguards and camp counselors.


 

 

GRAB Barn

259 Route 146

The Guilderland Rock Adventure Barn, known as the GRAB Barn, is dedicated to indoor rock climbing.

“We use it for our half-day summer-camp program,” said Cure. “Kids are bused over from Tawasentha to do rock climbing.”

In the past, the town has not opened the barn to public use by residents “because of staffing issues,” Cure said. “This summer, we are looking into opening it more, in the afternoons, maybe open it for birthday parties,” she added.

Part of the barn building is also used for storage; “some gardeners (working in the Community Gardens) store some stuff there,” Cure said.


 

 

Houck House

259 Route 146

The white house next door to the GRAB Barn “came with the property when the town purchased it,” Greg Wier told The Enterprise. The entire property is part of the old Houck farm, Wier said.

The town’s community garden is located on the property, too.

The Houck House is rented out, Wier said; the current occupant is a Parks Department employee.

The employee, Wier said, naturally tends to keep an eye on the property, since it’s his home, but he isn’t required to do so.


 

 

Highway Garage

6338 Frenchs Mill Road, Guilderland Center

The highway garage campus has a total of eight buildings, which include a maintenance building, fabrication shop, and paint shop.


 

 

Transfer Station/Landfill

6363 Frenchs Mill Road, Guilderland Center

Gregory Wier is also the superintendent of the transfer station/landfill.

The transfer station accepts such materials as kitchen and other garbage, construction demolition, metals, and recyclables that include electronics. At the end of the year, Wier said, the company that purchased electronic waste from the town stopped accepting it, and so the town also stopped accepting electronics briefly. The town has since found a new vendor and once again takes electronics. There is no charge for residents to bring electronics to the landfill.

The transfer station crew, said Wier, also runs the town’s mulch program, gathering residents’ brush and leaf clippings left at curbside. A company comes three times a year, Wier said, to grind it and take it away. The transfer station always leaves about 100 yards of mulch behind each time, Wier said.

Wier said that there are nine people working full-time at the transfer station, including himself.


 

 

Richard R. Murray Town of Guilderland Animal Shelter

6363 Frenchs Mill Road, Guilderland Center

This no-kill municipal shelter is run by animal control officers, who are civilian employees of the Guilderland Police Department, said Curtis Cox, Deputy Chief of Police.

An addition was put onto the original shelter building about 10 years ago, said Cox, through a combination of budget funding and donations of both money and services.

According to its website, the shelter has room for up to eight dogs and five cats at any one time. It is open to the public by appointment, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and holds an open house for walk-ins each Saturday from 9 to 1 p.m.

The shelter publicizes adoptable animals by posting them on its website and its Facebook page.


 

 

Industrial Park

Includes: Town of Guilderland Water Treatment Plant, 2 Van Buren Blvd., 861-6510

Industrial Park Sewer Plant, 2 Van Buren Blvd., 861-3656

According to Dean Sim, Senior Operator, the Town of Guilderland Water Treatment Plant is not owned by the town, but is used on a 100-year lease. The plant was built in 1970, on a much smaller scale, Sim said, and upgraded in 1994 to a facility capable of producing six million gallons of water per day. Sim, Senior Operator, the Town of Guilderland Water Treatment Plant is not owned by the town, but is used on a 100-year lease. The plant was built in 1970, on a much smaller scale, Sim said, and upgraded in 1994 to a facility capable of producing six million gallons of water per day.

The facility produces all of the water for the parts of town on a municipal system, drawing it from the Watervliet Reservoir and then treating it. The treatment process involves two steps, Sim said: a mixed-media filtration system and a granulated, activated carbon absorption system.

The facility is capable of producing six million gallons a day, but only licensed to produce five million a day, Sim said, because of regulations about how much can be drawn daily from the reservoir. In the summer months, he said, when residents’ per-day usage sometimes goes up to seven million gallons, what with sprinklers, pools, and gardens, Sim said, “We buy water from Albany.”

But the normal average over the course of a year, he said, is about three million gallons a day.

Four people work at the water treatment facility, he said, including him.

Tony Zaccardo is chief operator at Park Guilderland Industrial Wastewater Treatment, which treats industrial waste, such as produced by photographic film companies or other industries that use chemical processing, as well as wastewater from Guilderland High School and the homes in Guilderland Center.

Zaccardo also oversees the much larger wastewater treatment facility at Nott Road, which he says treats almost all of the town’s domestic wastewater.


 

 

Mynderse-Frederick House

541 Main St., Route 146, Guilderland Center

The Guilderland Historical Society has had its headquarters here since the building was acquired by the town in the early 1970s, according to the society’s vice president Mary Ellen Johnson. The society meets at the house on the third Thursday evening of February through May and September through November. The society’s photo collection and archives are stored in the home’s work area, she said.

“Unfortunately,” Johnson said, “because we have so few active volunteers, we do not have the house open on a regular basis,” apart from meetings and special events such as lectures.

Johnson noted that anyone may contact the society through its website, www.guilderlandhistoricalsociety.org, to arrange a house tour by appointment.

The Guilderland Garden Club also meets at the Mynderse-Frederick House about six times a year, says President Meril-Lee Lenegar. The club created the perennial gardens at the Mynderse-Frederick House — and has won awards for them — and decorates the historic home each year for a holiday greens show and open house.


 

 

 

Town Hall

5209 Western Turnpike, Guilderland

Barber said that the number of Town Hall employees varies from day to day and one from one time of day to another because of shift changes and part-time staff, but that the number is about 108. This breaks down, he said, to about 50 full-time employees, 16 paramedics, 32 police officers, and 10 dispatchers.

The departments housed in Town Hall include, he said, zoning, building, planning, fire inspection, senior services, information technology, town clerk, tax assessor, comptroller, supervisor, town court, EMS, dispatcher, police, and building superintendent.

The new building superintendent has helped with many recent improvements to the building, Barber said. Recent improvements include upgrading the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning; a new roof put on last year; improved landscaping, including newly stained benches and plans to restore stonework and landscaping along Western Avenue; and security and information technology upgrades.

Town-run senior activities are held at the town hall now, since the town’s senior center is not yet open.

 

More Guilderland News

  • GUILDERLAND — Because of quarantined staff, some middle school students here will be learning rem

  • While apartment approvals have been the Guilderland Planning Board’s bailiwick as of late, the board is now looking at approving a 58-lot single-family cluster subdivision near the intersection of Old State and Fuller Station roads 

  • Three months ago, the town of Guilderland asked Crossgates Mall to provide it with an income statement to show it was losing income and was in need of a nearly 50-percent cut in its tax assessment; the statement was never provided. The town has now demanded reams of financial data on what the mall charges its tenants for rent and what those tenants do in annual sales. 

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