2008-02-06 / Local News

Piazza offers Town Hall relocation solution: Village Hall

by ELIZABETH TAUFA Reporter

After Amherst Supervisor Satish Mohan proposed building a new Town Hall due to overcrowding, Village Trustee Basil Piazza approached his fellow board members with an alternative at the Jan. 28 meeting.

His solution? Sell the village's office building, located at 5565 Main St., to the town and move the village's office to the mill property on East Spring Street.

"If the village moved into one or two of those buildings - maybe the red and white buildings - we could invest the money from the sale of this building into other possibilities," Piazza said.

Those other possibilities could include restoration costs for the red and white buildings on the mill property or the actual mill.

"It wouldn't cost the town and village taxpayers as much money," Piazza continued, noting that Mohan put a cap on the costs at $10 million. "It would also cost the town a smaller amount to turn (Village Hall) into town offices. Instead of $10 million, they could do it for maybe $2 or $3 million."

Piazza's solution would also keep town offices on Main Street instead of separating town and village governments.

"It's not normal for the capital of an area to be centrally located," he said, citing Washington D.C. as an example. "I think it's something we should take a hard look at."

Piazza also presented the idea to the village's Mill Restoration Committee on Thursday, Jan. 31 to positive feedback.

"I see the red house as a court or meeting building," said committee member Kate Waterman Kulpa. "I think it's more effective to have Village Hall in a building that reflects its history."

While the committee was enthusiastic about exploring the idea, guidelines for restoration by the state Historic Preservation Office would still have to be met.

Both the Village Board and the Mill Restoration Committee noted that the issue would have to be examined further.

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