Village and town of Canton continue talks on new building

Feb. 11—CANTON — Discussion on a new municipal building for the village and town of Canton has continued since last year when both governments decided a proposed building with a $25 million price tag was not fiscally possible.

At the February joint meeting of the boards, members of the Building Committee gave an update.

"One of the things that we have done is take a look at the original plans for the amount of storage that would be required for the new building," Deputy Mayor Ann M. Sorensen said. "We've done our best to see where we might be able to reduce that. And we think we can reduce that by quite a lot."

Sorensen said the committee had met with the town and village clerks and the clerks for the court.

"We understand that there is some digitizing in process and much more that could be done. Which would allow us to significantly reduce the number of files in paper form," she said.

Sorensen said that the scope of documents that can be stored digitally is growing and the need for physical storage space will significantly drop.

Sorensen said the committee has been working with Clarkson students over the last two semesters to get fresh ideas.

"This semester, the students are in a capstone class and this group will work specifically on refining a plan and presenting us with new ideas," Sorensen said. "It is good to have more ideas and to present them with a real-life exercise in terms of what their future jobs might be."

At the committee's next meeting, a representative from the Development Authority of the North Country will help the committee explore funding sources,Town Councilman John S. Taillon said.

In July, architects from BCA Architects and Engineers, Watertown, presented a $25 million plan to board members for a new municipal building.

The plan was to tear down the adjacent McDonald's restaurant, build a new structure on that lot, and then utilize the space the current building is on for parking and green space.

Since the boards balked at the high price, officials went back and forth on the future of the McDonald's building while exploring new ideas for either restoring the old municipal building, finding space elsewhere, or building a new structure.

The McDonald's building is set to come down in the spring and the space will be used initially for extra parking.

Town Councilman James T. Smith wondered if the committee discussed how much money could be spent on a new building.

"We have talked about some preliminary numbers," Town Supervisor Mary Ann Ashley said. "We felt we had to get the space down and then reach out to BCA to give us some numbers."