Asharoken to receive federal funds to build a new Village Hall

Asharoken Village Hall shown on Sept. 14, 2012. Asharoken Village Hall shown on Sept. 14, 2012. Photo Credit: Andrew Kozak

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The Village of Asharoken will receive federal funds to help replace its Village Hall, which was flooded during superstorm Sandy and left unusable.

Mayor Gregory Letica said the village received a letter from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that Asharoken is eligible for $717,804, of which it will likely receive about 90 percent.

FEMA spokesman Michael Meenan said the federal agency and New York State have agreed that the repair cost for Village Hall exceeds by 50 percent the cost of replacing the building, making it eligible for replacement.

"This is a very important step in the process of rebuilding the Village Hall and I would like to thank Congressman Steve Israel for his support and assistance in getting FEMA to agree to a replacement model," Letica said.

Letica said it is possible the final amount could change, due to FEMA reviews.

"I expect that everything will be finalized within about 4-6 weeks," he said on the village's website.

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Since Sandy struck in late 2012, village business has been run out of a trailer, and the police department is housed in a second, both sitting in the Village Hall parking lot.

Village officials started discussing construction of a new hall and fundraising for it before Sandy.

To date the village has about $500,000 toward the rebuilding project, from assigned village funds and donations.

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Officials are looking to build the new hall on the same lot as the current hall, but not on the same spot, which is prone to flooding.

The proposed design calls for a 3,000-square-foot building, about twice the size of the shuttered Village Hall.

Asharoken has been working since November with federal and state officials on plans to replace or renovate the shuttered hall. State and federal agencies brought in experts to evaluate the damage to determine whether the hall would be classified as a "repair" or a "replacement" model.

Officials went back and forth on this, but decided last week that it would be classified a replacement project.

Letica said he doesn't know how much the total project will cost.

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He said the next step is to put it out for bid, which will then give officials a better idea of the cost.

Israel said building a new Village Hall was an imperative.

"I saw firsthand the damage it sustained during superstorm Sandy, and it only makes sense to rebuild this essential building in Asharoken," he said.

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