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Housing for disabled vets progresses

County commits to sell former school following foreclosure

The former Draper school building, seen here in June 2011, is now closer to becoming repurposed for housing for disabled veterans.

The former Draper school building, seen here in June 2011, is now closer to becoming repurposed for housing for disabled veterans. Photo by John Purcell.

— After two and a half years of efforts in Rotterdam to open the first Disabled American Veterans apartment complex in the country, the proposal is closer to becoming a reality.

The Schenectady County Legislature on Tuesday, Jan. 10, unanimously approved the sale of the former Draper School property to the Disabled American Veterans of New York Services, Inc. The DAV has offered to pay the County $63,333 for the 3.5-acre property located on Draper Avenue in Rotterdam, and plans to convert it into approximately 120 apartments for disabled veterans. The agreement is pending judgment of foreclosure, which is expected to be reached on Friday, Jan 20.

County Legislator Tony Jasenski, D-Rotterdam, applauded the development.

“It is a wonderful project that will provide a great home and reuse of the old Draper school building and a great place for our veterans to be housed,” Jasenski said.

Eximius Education Foundation, a charter school, previously claimed to have signed an agreement with First Niagara Bank, the property owner, but it backed out of it last year. The DAV in June of 2011 was contacted by First Niagara to see if it was still interested in the property. Some residents voiced their opposition to a charter school moving in, citing concerns of increased traffic in the surrounding neighborhood.

There is currently $190,000 in unpaid property taxes on the property.

On Aug. 24 of last year, the county filed a petition and notice for foreclosure to gain ownership of the property. Once the foreclosure process is completed, the county would move to sell the deed to the DAV.

The DAV would be purchasing the parcel “as is,” and assuming all responsibility to inspect and repair the property. Also, it would release the county for any future environmental claims brought forward.

Tom Reiter, junior vice commander of the state DAV, said he is pleased the process is moving forward after extensive efforts to secure the property.

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