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Town goes to market

"When the board decides to move forward, we should try to create a space or area that could be used by both sides," he said. "One reason is we would be able to reduce this cost significantly."

What hasn't been factored into the estimates is the area surrounding the Grand Union, which is 35,109 square feet, according to Godlewski. Since the board voted to allow Supervisor Frank Del Gallo to move forward with negotiations, the board will be able to obtain those numbers.

Godlewski said he has a call into Congressman Paul Tonko's office to see if there are any grants available for capital improvements.

The board did not express any opinions on the project, but two members of the community said they supported the town moving forward with negotiations.

"I wanted to thank you for putting up to vote the negotiations because we're looking forward to getting a number," said Joe Lapczenski, owner of Carman Hardware, adding that several residents, members of the fire district and the chief of police have voiced support. "They're hoping something nice happens with Hamburg Road."

Paul DeMillo, store manager at Towne TV Audio and Appliances and member of the Hamburg Street Merchant Association, said he was happy to hear the negotiations would begin and said many of the people he's talked to are in favor of the project.

"It's a much needed improvement for the police force," he said, adding the Grand Union would be a nice addition since the town acquired a $5 million beautification loan for Hamburg Street. "It would be a great shot in the arm of that area."

Brian McGarry, the Republican-endorsed candidate for Town Supervisor, said he opposes the project and noted the cost estimate presented at the meeting didn't include the purchase price of the property.

"The costs of this elaborate capital project should not be placed on the backs of hardworking taxpaying residents. Nor should the future of the town be mortgaged by bonding the exorbitant project costs with repayment made over a period of years." McGarry said in a statement.

McGarry said maintenance costs associated with the current aging facility are significant, but buying back commercial space and taking property off the tax roll shouldn't be considered. He was also concerned the proposed project didn't place the building centrally in the town.

Del Gallo said the area looks great since it was done over and added that if the town can acquire the Grand Union area for a decent price, Hamburg Street will get another update.

"If the price is right, we'll be there," he said.

Reporter John Purcell contributed to this story ""

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