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Sun., Oct. 4
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Lewis Lanes engineering study near complete, parking lot may pose issue


LOWVILLE — An engineering study presented Monday by Bernier, Carr & Associates to the Lewis County Buildings and Grounds Committee delivered two potential floor plans to convert Lewis Lanes to county office space. It also delivered some unexpected parking lot issues.

Using a standard method of one parking space for every 100 square foot of occupiable space in the building, now a bowling alley, would require 160 parking spaces as part of the renovation.

If all available property that comes with the $1 million purchase is paved, “You’re still short 44 spaces,” said Matthew J. Cooper of Bernier, Carr, Watertown. The parking space requirement for the building’s use as a bowling alley is less, as the lanes are not considered occupiable space.

The parcel contains room for 99 parking spaces in the front of the building. The rear side, to the east, would allow 17 additional spots after grading.

To accommodate 44 extra parking spots, an estimated three-quarters of an acre of neighboring land must be purchased. Committee members also discussed leasing spaces from Climax Manufacturing, which borders the north side.

Mr. Cooper said the 99 front spaces, now gravel, would cost an average of $1,500 each to pave. The 17 rear spots with additional grading would average $3,000. Not counting the land purchase price, the estimated cost for the 44 spots is $4,000 each. Estimated totals add up to $375,500.

Committee members asked Bernier, Carr engineers to rework the numbers using data collected from departments expected to relocate to the building to ensure the 160 parking spaces would be sufficient.

“This is still preliminary,” said Committee Chairman Philip C. Hathway, R-Diana. “That number could go up or down.”

The annexation or purchase of land for parking likely would trigger a State Environmental Quality Review Act study, as more than an acre of soil likely would be disturbed. If retention ponds are required, additional land, besides the estimated three-quarter acre, must be secured. Lewis County tax records list Allen W. Matuszczak as the neighboring property owner.

The committee reviewed two floor plan options for office space conversion. The first would relocate all Department of Social Services workers to the location, using the entire building. The second would house the Office for the Aging, Department of Motor Vehicles, Board of Elections, Weights and Measures, Highway, Solid Waste and Junkyard departments.

Mechanical engineer Joseph A. Edick “did a great job of including and using all of the current equipment,” said Rick W. Tague, Bernier, Carr’s president.

To keep costs low, the plans would reuse the current restroom facilities for the public, retain lighting and keep as many heating and cooling elements as possible.

The final engineering study, expected by week’s end, will be presented at the June Board of Legislators meeting.

“We’re making a million-dollar purchase,” said committee member Richard A. Chartrand, D-Lowville “There’s no reason to rush this.”

The purchase offer came from a fall decision, shortly after the board voted down a new county office building on outer Stowe Street. The sale contract can be abrogated if the engineering study proves the building is not feasible for county office space.

An appraisal, which must meet or exceed the $1 million purchase price, should be completed this week.

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