Hilton Barn work wrapping up, slated for winter completion

— From ME Studio

In late July, New Scotland will award a contract for the clearing, grubbing, and grading of Hilton Park as well as installation of a parking area, sidewalks, and an ice-skating pond. 

NEW SCOTLAND — With its latest request for bids for sitework at Hilton Park, the town of New Scotland is bringing to an end an almost decade-long endeavor to build a new town park at the corner of Route 85A and Hilton Road. 

In late July, the town will award a contract for the clearing, grubbing, and grading of the park as well as installation of a parking area, sidewalks, and an ice-skating pond. 

Councilman William Hennessy estimated the cost of the work at about $250,000 — but noted that figure was what was used in 2019 when the town applied for state funds for the project. 

The town moved the century-old barn across Route 85A in 2016

The work is the latest for the million-dollar-plus project, which since 2021 has had work approved to:

— Remove, retain, and replace the barn’s existing siding;

— Install new wood double-hung windows, wood doors, and a storefront entry system; 

— Install bathrooms;

— Reinforce areas of the concrete floor; 

— Perform associated electrical and mechanical work; and 

— $65,000 in add-ons: $23,000 for reinforced concrete floors in areas surrounding restrooms; $7,200 for additional power and lighting; and $35,000 for exterior barn doors, both sliding and fixed.

All of the above was part of a $529,200 contract awarded in May of last year. The barn has also received a $513,5oo slate roof, which is approximately $61,000 over that project’s original cost.

In total, the project has incurred over $210,000 in additional charges. 

But New Scotland taxpayers won’t be on the hook for the overages, Hennessy told The Enterprise in December.

New Scotland is responsible for about one-third of the project’s approximately $1.2 million cost. In 2019, the town received $412,000 from the state for the project, which it has to match.

Additionally, a parks fund that developers in town have to pay into if they don’t set aside open space totaled over $250,000 at the time of the 2021 state grant award. 

According to the sitework contract documents, the project is to be awarded on July 24, with substantial completion by Oct. 31, and closeout by Nov. 30. 

Barring the town’s highway department not being able to perform its in-kind services, Hennessy said the entire project should be wrapped by winter. 


Tax lawsuit

The town board approved a settlement with Campus Associates to lower the assessment on a small portion of land located in New Scotland containing a Plug Power manufacturing facility. 

 A Columbia Development LLC, Campus Associates filed suit against New Scotland and Bethlehem in July 2023 attempting to lower the property’s assessed value by about 46 percent — in Bethlehem from $37.5 million to $20.25 million and in New Scotland from $985,500 to $444,000. 

To make the project work geographically, Columbia had to subdivide 129 acres it owned located entirely within New Scotland into two parcels of 31 acres and 74 acres. The 31-acre property became part of the overall 57-acre Plug Power facility, which required 26 acres be subdivided from 97 acres of 125 Vista Boulevard in Bethlehem. The subdivisions resulted in approximately 17,000 square feet of the manufacturing facility being located in New Scotland. 

Bethlehem settled with Columbia in November, agreeing to a 36 percent reduction, to $24 million.

The settlement OK’d by the New Scotland Town Board on June 12 reduces the portion of the facility in town to $630,000, also a 36 percent reduction.


Natural resources inventory

Also on June 12, the town board adopted New Scotland’s first natural resource inventory.

In the works for three years, the inventory, an interactive map housed on the town’s website, allowed the town to catalog its natural resources — for example, its wetlands, streams, and viewsheds  — and come up with a plan for their future preservation. 

The town was awarded $50,000 from the state to create the inventory.

Councilman Adam Greenberg explained at the time of the award that the resource inventory and subsequent mapping could be used by a resident or applicant to the planning or zoning boards to answer questions about a parcel of land; the property could be brought up on the mapping software to “see exactly what issues” the property “may or may not have,” he said.

Greenberg said the mapping should streamline any application processes, in addition to being a new tool for the town’s building department. 

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