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Solvay: New highway garage stalled

The damaged Solvay highway garage was demolished this summer, but a replacement may not be up before the snow flies.

The project is about six weeks behind schedule, said John Fall, Solvay deputy mayor and highway committee chair. The village spent over a month waiting to straighten out insurance issues with the company that demolished the old building, and now the project is progressing but the time table is tight.

"It's still feasible if everything goes relatively smoothly," Fall said. "I'm still hopeful."

A water main break on Milton Avenue last fall damaged the garage beyond repair. The village is in the process of replacing the building with an eco-friendly garage.

At a recent highway committee meeting, the committee discussed funding options for the project, in the neighborhood of $1.25 million.

And that amount of money has Richard Ladouceur asking questions.

Ladouceur, president Solvay Lighting Centers, attended the meeting because he said he read an announcement in the Post-Standard that the committee had received a $1.25 million grant to rebuild the garage.

When he got to the meeting, Ladouceur said, he realized the money was not awarded to the village through a grant, but that the committee was discussing applying for a federal grant that would award them a low-interest loan as funding the new building.

Ladouceur said the committee tabled the decision. About a week and a half later, he rolled a sign he regularly uses to announce store events out to the edge of the parking lot at the Charles Avenue lighting center, only this time he was announcing something else.

"1.25M highway garage, aren't our taxes high enough?" it read.

Fall said the highway committee had decided not to apply for the grant.

"Personally, I never envisioned spending that kind of money on a building anyway," Fall said. He said some of the other trustees were not happy with the $1.25 million given as a "rough estimate" of what the new building would cost. "I'm hoping we're not even close to that number."

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