The Masonic Temples new owner will have to spend between $25,000 and $30,000 just to make the Washington Street landmarks exterior safe enough for the public.
City officials ordered Garrett L. McCarthy, a Henderson artist who purchased the building last year, to put together a strategy that ensures pieces of the exterior no longer fall off the crumbling 100-year-old building.
On Monday night, Mr. McCarthy told the Watertown City Council architects and engineers from the Syracuse engineering firm of Klepper, Hahn & Hyatt looked at the building Monday to evaluate how to correct the problem.
He expects to get the results of their findings in the coming weeks about how to remove or shore up loose material and repair areas where moisture and water are getting behind the facade. That work must be completed in November.
Last week, City Engineer Kurt W. Hauk threatened to forbid the public from going in the building until the work is completed. Mr. McCarthy and anyone working on the building would still have been allowed to enter.
There seems to be some confusion, he said Monday, but thats whats at issue here.
During the meeting, Donald C. Alexander, CEO of the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency, and former Watertown Mayor T. Urling Walker urged the city to work with Mr. McCarthy while he undertakes his plans to convert the building to an educational and performing arts center.
They contended he should be given a chance to proceed with those plans. It would be better than tearing it down and replacing it with a parking lot, they said.
It seems to me it would be better than using a bulldozer, Mr. Alexander said.
Last week, Mr. McCarthy also had Dale R. Stehlin, a field representative for Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 2, Keith Lashway of the International Masonry Institute, Clifton Park, and Scott Lupini, who owns a Utica construction company, tour the building.
Mr. McCarthy has been trying to drum up support by talking with arts organizations and college and university officials throughout the state to see if they might be interested in the project, which he has estimated would cost about $5 million.
Its in the early stages, he said about his progress.