The restoration of the Washington Hose firehouse is going to cost more than the $300,000 currently committed to the project. This situation, which was discussed at the Common Council Economic Development Committee meeting on Tuesday night, was reported in this morning's Register-Star: "City faces $387k shortfall for Washington Hose."
At the meeting, Peter Markou, executive director of HDC, explained that the total cost had been estimated at between $550,000 and $580,000, and they'd applied for a Main Street grant for $250,000 to make up the difference. Unfortunately, the grant application was not successful, and the lowest responsible bid, from Hoosick Valley Contractors, totaled $687,645. Markou said he would ask the HDC board to commit another $37,000 to the project and was asking the City to provide the remaining money from the fund balance.
Markou, Mayor Rick Scalera, and Common Council President Don Moore are united in their support of the project, and the members of the Economic Development Committee present on Tuesday night--Sarah Sterling, Ellen Thurston, and Abdus Miah--voted unanimously to move the resolution to appropriate the funds forward.
As reported by Lindsay Suchow, I raised a question at the meeting about the comparative cost of repairing the old wood windows and replacing them. Unfortunately, I phrased the question as if I were expecting to be told that replacing the windows would be more cost effective than repairing them, which in projects like this is usually the justification for consigning wood windows to a landfill. The report makes it sound as if this were the case, but it's not. The truth is that repairing the wood windows will cost significantly less than replacing them. According to the bid submitted by Hoosick Valley Contractors, repairing the windows will cost $13,500; replacing them will cost $40,000. Dan Proper, from Crawford Associates, pointed out at the meeting that the windows weren't the "original" windows, which may well be the case. Obviously, the two arched windows at the front of the building aren't "original" windows, since those openings weren't originally windows but engine bays. Still, all the windows at Washington Hose are undoubtedly pre-World War II, which makes their construction and the materials used superior to anything that would replace them.