Gloversville eyes options for a new DPW building

The Gloversville Common Council discussed options to replace the city's aging Department of Public Works building during Tuesday's meeting, including a proposal from a property owner who has offered to self-fund an engineering study of a portion of the former Continental Mill building on Beaver Street, shown Thursday, for consideration by the city. (The Leader-Herald/Ashley Onyon)

GLOVERSVILLE — The Common Council is exploring options to replace the city’s aging Department of Public Works building, including one from a property owner who has offered to fund an engineering study on a former textile mill building for consideration by the city.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Fourth Ward Councilman Steven Smith brought up for discussion an email the council members had received regarding a proposal from Ed Newberry, one of the owners of a former mill building on Beaver Street.

“It’s possible that Mr. Newberry has got some buildings down there at the old Continental Mills facility that might do well for the DPW facility and he’s agreed to fund an engineering study to look into that,” Smith said. “That would be complimentary, basically.”

Smith noted the city has contracted Barton and Loguidice, P.C. to conduct a study to determine the concept cost of constructing a new DPW building, suggesting the council agree to review the study of the Beaver Street building for comparison.

“To make a comparison between essentially two options; Newberry’s property and an all new building,” Smith said.

The council has been exploring options for a new DPW building throughout the year, with DPW Director Dale Trumbull ruling out several existing buildings throughout the city due to condition, size, location and the need for potentially costly modifications to be used by the DPW.

The current DPW facility is about 30,000 square feet in size and is used to house the city’s fleet of DPW vehicles, a mechanic’s bay with a lift to repair trucks and machinery, a carpentry shop and a sign and paint shop.

Smith said the building is currently at full occupancy, has poor energy efficiency and has a number of structural issues. He added that six to eight years ago, before he was elected to the council, he was contracted by the city to investigate the DPW building to recommend structural repairs through his firm, Smith Engineering & Architect.

“We’ve known for a long time the facility needs to be replaced,” Smith said. “Parts of it are starting to get structurally unsound.”

Trumbull has stated that a building approximately 50,000 square feet in size is needed for the DPW, preferably centrally located within the city for the ease of transportation when employees are completing work throughout the city.

Smith said the Beaver Street building was built in several sections spanning both sides of the street over the course of many years beginning in 1895 and has a variety of spaces. The city would principally be considering one of the most recent additions that was constructed in 1973.

The space has two floors with about 34,000 square feet of space on the first floor and about 32,000 square feet on the second. Smith said the building would likely need to be augmented in some way as the DPW would primarily seek to occupy the first floor and the city could consider additional building space at the site.

Currently, the building is largely vacant, with a section of the facility on the opposite side of the street at 51 Beaver St. occupied by St. Regis Sports Ltd., a textile company owned and operated by the Newberry family. Smith said the Newberrys intend for St. Regis to remain in its current location, possibly expanding in the future.

Trumbull, who had not received the email from Newberry, agreed with Smith that the building would likely need to be altered in some way.

“It would need some modifications to make it useful for DPW,” Trumbull said. “I think some of the buildings over there need to be torn down to make room for parking and storage of equipment, maybe put up smaller buildings to put in our equipment.”

Trumbull did not raise any objections to the proposal, noting that he and Smith had previously looked at the building and determined it is not in a flood point.

“I’m pretty excited about this proposal, because it seems so generous to the city and I think whenever we can renovate and get rid of something that’s at this point blight would be a positive, so I would really be in favor of researching this simply at this stage,” Third Ward Councilwoman Elizabeth Batchelor said.

Smith said the engineering study of the Beaver Street building would be conducted by Greenman-Pedersen, Inc., which he and Trumbull could offer input to regarding the information the city would require.

Once the city has received the study, Smith suggested the council review the option in comparison to their own study on constructing a new building to make a final decision on which direction to take before sending the desired course out to bid for Request For Proposals.

“We are not making any sort of representation to them that we’re going to take their project and we’re going to run with it, we’re just saying we will entertain the possibility of using your buildings as the DPW if we think it looks like the better deal,” Smith said. “I just want to be able to be on the record here, the council, just verbally.”

The council voiced their willingness to review the engineering study of the Beaver Street property once complete while considering options for a new DPW building.

“We’d be crazy not to,” Councilman-at-Large Vincent DeSantis said.