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Two historic sites in Lindenhurst Village remain closed due to rehab costs

The Old Village Hall and Police Station at

The Old Village Hall and Police Station at the triangle formed by S. Broadway, S. 3rd Street and Kent Avenue near Irmisch Park in Lindenhurst on Aug. 18, 2015. Credit: Jessica Rotkiewicz

The restoration of two historic sites in Lindenhurst Village has taken longer than officials expected, leaving both sites closed to the public for more than a year.

The village moved its Old Village Hall and Police Station building to another spot and relocated the village's museum -- which had been housed there -- to a building purchased across the street, with plans to rehab both.

"We had certainly hoped to have had at least one of the facilities partially open by now and the fact that neither is open is not a good thing," said Maryann Weckerle, a village trustee and member of the village's historical society.

Recently, the village discarded four bids it received in July for the restoration of the Old Village Hall and reopened the bidding process.

"We were hoping to get more," village Clerk-Treasurer Shawn Cullinane said. "They were also a lot more expensive than we were anticipating." Cullinane declined to reveal the amounts of the bids.

The work involves building a 15-foot-by-22-foot extension to the Old Village Hall to serve as a utility room, as well as building a handicapped-accessible bathroom and making the building handicapped accessible.

Built in 1914, the Old Village Hall was originally on South Wellwood Avenue. It was moved in December 2013 to Irmisch Park because of the rebuilding and expansion of the village's main firehouse next door.

The village museum was relocated from inside the Old Village Hall to across South Wellwood Avenue inside an early 20th-century house previously owned by Our Lady of Perpetual Help Roman Catholic Church. Both the Old Village Hall and museum have been closed for a year and a half while refurbishments are made.

"It's been languishing a little while," Cullinane said. "We've got all the permits, so it's sitting there, ready to go. We just need to get the right price."

The new bids were due Wednesday.

"In our minds, we're looking for a certain amount for the work that needs to be done," he said. "If the numbers don't come out the way we like, we may need to sit down and figure out what we want to do next."

Purchasing and rehabbing the house for the village museum has cost about $400,000 so far, Cullinane said, while moving the old village hall and building a new foundation has cost about $75,000. For the latter building, the village has authorized spending up to $180,000.

The village received a $180,000 state grant toward the museum work, as well as a donation of $75,000 from the historical society, and has bonded to cover the remaining costs.

Weckerle said the museum requires the most work and will have to be tackled one floor at a time, room by room. It will likely be next summer before even a few rooms will be open to the public, she said.

"We really don't have the freedom to do overlapping projects," she said, citing the village's limited resources.

"You have it in your mind you're building something for 100 years, so you want it to be state of the art, top of the line," she said. "But you can't always do that, the numbers are sometimes too prohibitive. You have to do functional for the immediate future."

Historic sites

Lindenhurst Old Village Hall and Police Station

Built in 1914

One-story, 27 feet wide

Opened as a museum in 1958

New Village Museum

Will be Located at 272 S. Wellwood Ave.

Built in early 20th century

Three stories

Formerly occupied by Our Lady of Perpetual Help, owned by the Diocese of Rockville Centre

Previously housed an attorney's office before becoming the site of the church's St. Vincent de Paul food pantry

Museum items include a late 19th-century penny-farthing bike and a baseball signed by Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.

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