Babylon has hired an architectural firm to assess the framework of a town building that is due for a renovation, after uncovering structural issues.
The town entered into a contract with BBS Architects of Patchogue for an amount not to exceed $5,900 to evaluate the building at 1 Commerce Blvd. in Amityville. The town’s department of human services and archives are located in the building, along with its food pantry and an after-school program. There are currently eight town employees working on-site.
The building was owned by Suffolk County and leased for free to the town since 2000 in exchange for maintaining the property. In 2017, the town was deeded the property.
Babylon had signed a contract with BBS in 2017 for an amount not to exceed $19,500 for the archives to be moved from the Town Hall annex, which is being renovated, to the Commerce Boulevard site. In 2018, the company was again hired to perform a structural analysis of the building, which was constructed in 1967, for $1,950. Their report found structural issues, water penetration through the masonry and problems with the roof, said town spokesman Dan Schaefer.
The town received a $615,000 state grant for work on the building and had been planning on refinishing the basement, but those projected costs came to $4 million.
“We realized that wasn’t happening,” Deputy Supervisor Tony Martinez said.
Instead, the town has decided to move the archives back to the annex so that human services can expand their services and use the grant money for a new HVAC system, flooring, and ceilings.
But first, the town is waiting on BBS’s report because the grant money may have to go toward structural fixes.
“We want to make sure first that the shell of the building is in good condition,” Martinez said.
If the grant money gets eaten up by the structural work, Martinez said the town may look toward bonding or using savings from other capital projects for the interior work.
“At the end of the day," he said, "we want to renovate the building so it is safe and sound to continue to provide and increase [services from] the department of human services.”