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Firm on Town Garage Project: Commerce Drive Site Ranks Highest of Three Re-evaluated

A firm hired to assess the town’s plans for a new highway garage concurs that the town should focus its efforts on 325 Commerce Drive, Chief Administrative Officer Robert Skinner told selectmen this week.

The firm review that site along with 55 Lawton Road and 51 River Road.

A May 2013 electors voted 814-454 against spending up to $5.4 million on a new public works facility at the Commerce Drive site. The project was controversial and in addition to cost some of the debate focused on how much location factored into the result.

After the referendum, selectmen initially selectmen considered separately purchasing the Commerce Drive site for $225,000 and then moving forward with a project.

However, Chief Administrative Officer Robert Skinner later suggested having another firm come in and review the work of past consultant Weston and Sampson in hopes of finding some savings and gaining voter confidence.  

That firm, Silver/Petrucelli + Associates, reviewed the Commerce Drive site, along with 55 Lawton Road and 51 River Road. 

Using a matrix and several criteria, the firm placed Commerce Drive on top and recommended the town continue to focus on it, Skinner told selectmen Wednesday.The Permanent Municipal Building Committee has concurred, Skinner said.

Silver/Petrucelli will now review costs, various designs and other factors to get some cost estimates and develop a request for proposal for a “design build” project, Skinner said. Design build uses one firm to both design and build saving some money and allowing the contractor some flexibility, rather than following someone else's design. 

During the referendum process, many officials said the project could come in lower than $5.4 million. By having the work reviewed and getting bids ahead of time, the town now hopes to get a more accurate price ahead of time, find some areas of savings and come back to voters with a less expensive project. 

Dave Hudon January 11, 2014 at 10:03 AM
Was the land on Route 44 near New Hartford line that just sold for under $500,000 a parcel that had been considered?
John Fitts January 11, 2014 at 10:16 AM
Hi Dave. The exact lot lines were not disclosed due to the town's ability to discuss pending real estate in executive session but I do know from several sources that the town was approached about land along 44 near New Hartford, expressed interest and were then told it was no longer available.
John Fitts January 11, 2014 at 10:17 AM
If you look at past PMBC minutes you will see reference to land near New Hartford. I apologize that I don't remember exactly when but if I get a chance later, I may be able to find them - or they are on the town web site.
Dan M. January 11, 2014 at 03:36 PM
Why was the consultant even told to consider the Commerce Drive site in the first place? This site was voted down by the taxpayers and is clearly not an appropriate location for that type of function.
Canton Taxpayer January 13, 2014 at 09:49 AM
Not true Dan M. I voted no because of the cost, not the location. If they come back with a more reasonable cost, I'll vote yes.

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