Village wants future for former Gulf station

Madison County has a "brownfield" property in Hamilton, and local organizations would like to see it restored to good use. Roger Bauman, president of the Hamilton Business Initiative and director of the Partnership for Community Development, approached the Madison County Planning Committee to ask them to start thinking about a future for the property.

The property came into the ownership of the county through a past land auction.

The former Gulf service station is a partially remediated brownfield site. County Administrator Paul Miller said the work has not yet been completed to the requirements of the state Department of Environmental Conservation, but there have not yet been discussions on a potential future use for the property once it is cleaned up.

"But we're almost there," Paul Miller said.

Bauman said his organizations have worked to take down a lot of buildings in downtown Hamilton that were either vacant or underutilized and fixed them up.

"This is along the northern corridor and entry into our village," Bauman said. "Ten years ago I did a video presentation in the Barge Canal Coffee Shop, and sometimes when you see things in pictures and in person, you start to see how run-down and in need of love some areas are. The truth is that's the case with this property."

"We're trying to figure out a way to make this beautiful and improve the entryway into our village," Bauman said. "Hamilton Initiative can bid against other folks interested in this property, or it could stay in the hands of the municipality. There is some interest that the town offices could move into this building, also. That would free up a storefront in the village because that's where they are now."

Bauman said he was not at the meeting to present a hard concept.

"If there is away I can help do this, ownership is not my goal here: it's community vitality," Bauman said. "If it's possible to move a Madison County office into that building, that would be an option. I'm not here to be vague; I want to be specific, but there's a lot of options. I would like to know from the county's viewpoint, what's the state of the building, if it's got to go out to a bid process, or is usage an option?"

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