Malta acquires farm

Showing their true commitment to preserving open space, Malta officials tramped through snow and ice Saturday morning, Jan. 5, to tour a homestead, barn, garage and 20-plus acres of property at 584 Eastline Road that recently transferred full ownership to the town.

The picturesque property, overlooking rolling hills and horse farms, includes a well-preserved red barn, complete with wooden ladders and stalls, built in the 1920s.

Standing inside the vacant but still heated house, decorated in 1960s orange carpeting and featuring florescent lights, officials brainstormed ideas for renting the house and opening the land for informal sporting and recreational uses.

A little history

Formerly owned by the Michalko family, the property was purchased by the town in 2006 with $215,500 in Malta open space funds, as well as $84,500 in grant monies from Saratoga County. The last member of the Michalko family living on the premises passed away in November, leaving the site vacant and leaving the town as the legal owner.

Town officials had the property reviewed by engineers, who issued a report showing of the approximately 20 acres, 13 are classified as wetlands and have restricted uses under state Department of Environmental Conservation laws for buffers.

The 1924 home is a two-story, wood frame building with three bedrooms and one bathroom, amassing about 1,300 square-feet. The last time the home was remodeled was in the 1960s. The house is heated with oil and the stove is operated by propane tank. The basement is a partial, unfinished basement. A check of the paint, to see if it contains lead, hasn't yet been done. The town historian will visit the site to make an official decision on the historic significance of the structure since it is more than 50 years old.

Engineers also checked the roofing shingles for asbestos, which were used regularly in materials from the 1930s until the 1970s, after which they were banned. In their written report to the town board, the inspectors said asbestos products are not likely to release asbestos fibers unless sawed, dilled, or cut, but damaged asbestos may release asbestos fibers and become a health hazard. State permits are required by contractors to remove any asbestos siding, and the work must be done only by a professional trained in methods for safely handling the material.

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