SARATOGA: Accord reached in site selection

In a rare moment of cooperation between the two, Public Works Commissioner Thomas McTygue accepted Mayor Valerie Keehn's amendments to his proposal that 60 Weibel Ave. be formally selected by the city council as the site for the city's $6.53 million indoor recreation facility.

Keehn, reading from a prepared statement at the Tuesday, Dec. 19, meeting of the City Council, proposed the site be selected contingent on a number of actions.

First and foremost, she said, she wants the city council to be lead agency on the state environmental quality review (SEQR); a position the city's planning board now holds. She also wanted the feasibility study done over the summer regarding the Weibel Avenue site adopted as policy, and that the plans for the facility be reviewed by the planning board and zoning board of appeals before any further action was taken.

McTygue questioned whether the mayor could get the boards to act quickly on the project.

This amendment that you propose may hold us up for a couple of years, McTygue said. "I have no problem letting the planning board give us an advisory opinion, but to have it go through every board in this city could take a very long time."

Public Safety Commissioner Ron Kim suggested a coordinated review, in which all of the city's boards would be present so that only one presentation would have to be made. This would save both time and money, Kim said.

Keehn added that her amendment gave a timeline for the completion of the review, stating the coordinated review would be performed and returned to the city council by Jan. 16.

A new recreation committee appointed two weeks ago by Finance Commissioner Matthew McCabe backed McTygue's Weibel Avenue proposal. Committee chairman Richard Flaherty said the committee voted unanimously to support placing the recreation building at 60 Weibel Ave. and also agreed that the Department of Public Works should take the lead on the engineering work for the project and to issue the request for proposal to solicit bidders to construct the facility.

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