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Portion of Town Hall roof crumbles

A portion of Bethlehem Town Hall's parapet crumbled late this morning, crushing four cars under a hail of brick and mortar.

Town personnel and contractors are still on the scene cleaning up the damage and assessing what needs to be done in terms of repairs. Sam Greco of Sam Greco Construction Inc., which will be working on the repairs, said the parapet fell as the result of expanding and contracting moisture.

We're going to get it cleaned up today and get it stabilized, he said.

The town closed two of Town Hall's three public entrances. The third is under a newer portion of the building. Many events for the day were canceled, but a Planning Board meeting this evening remains on.

The building's parapet had been targeted for repair. Last April, the Town Board elected to hold off on a number of repairs to the building, in part to save money and make a coordinated Town Hall building project later. That debate largely centered on repairs to the courthouse roof and an expansion to the human resources and comptroller offices, which were also deferred.

Supervisor Sam Messina said he had planned to bring the issue up again in the spring.

"Now we just have to move forward with this on a different schedule," he said.

It's not clear when or how the repairs will be made. With the possibility of cold weather it may be difficult to make a full repair until spring.

There were no injuries, and the cars were parked in handicapped spaces. Messina said he believes the owners of the cars were at Town Hall for a seniors program, and were all given rides home by police.

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