January 11, 2012
Legislators look to jettison 2 county properties
Proposals sought for former TC3 extension center on Court St. and Horizon House
Cortland County is looking to sell or lease two buildings it owns instead of leaving them vacant.
Legislators at Tuesday’s Buildings and Grounds Committee discussed the idea for the facilities on Grant Street and West Court Street.
County Administrator Martin Murphy is preparing requests for proposals for the vacant Tompkins Cortland Community College extension center on West Court Street. The requests are due back Feb. 3.
Once the Horizon House Day Treatment facility at 49 Grant St. is vacant, he will prepare requests for proposals for that space as well, said Legislature Chairman Mike Park (R-Homer).
That building could be vacated by the end of February, said Mark Thayer, Cortland County Mental Health director of administrative services.
The Mental Health Department is transitioning those services to the Mental Health Clinic on Clayton Avenue, and the county must get permission from the state office of Mental Health to restructure the day treatment program, he said. The county has filed the application with the state and is awaiting approval, which he expects within two weeks.
Thayer said he thinks the program could be accommodated with some “fairly minor changes to the physical space” at Clayton Avenue.
The day treatment center serves 42 clients.
“We’re hoping that we’d have all the changes made ... and by the end of February have everyone moved in here,” Thayer said.
The county acquired the TC3 Extension Center on West Court Street in exchange for the former Robbins Vending and Moose Lodge properties on south Main Street in a land swap finalized in July of last year.
The site was originally slated to be the site of the Horizon House, but state and county funding cuts last year made absorbing the program into the county’s existing programs more feasible.
Thayer said he and the county legislators have the common goal of ensuring the transition happens as quickly as possible.
“We want to start to realize the savings of not having to fund the overhead of two buildings,” Thayer said, referring to the Mental Health clinic and the Horizon House.
Park said he hopes the requests for proposals will reveal an interest within the community to buy or lease the facilities.
“We’ll see what interest is out there, if anybody wants to rent or purchase the property so we have options and can bring them back instead of being vacant and off the tax rolls,” Park said, noting that the Horizon House facility is not yet vacant.
The 3,500-square-foot building at 22 West Court St. is valued at an estimated $225,000.
The 2,800-square-foot Horizon House is assessed at $388,800, according to Maintenance Director Brian Parker.
A press officer at the state Office of Mental Health, Leesa Rademacher, stated in an e-mail Tuesday the county’s application is still under review.
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