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Asharoken trustees choose builder of Village Hall

Asharoken Village Hall is shown in this April

Asharoken Village Hall is shown in this April 16, 2014 file photo. Credit: Ed Betz

Asharoken officials have awarded a $924,900 contract to Medford-based Ravco Construction to rebuild Village Hall, which was badly damaged by superstorm Sandy.

Bids for the about 3,000-square-foot building came in as high as $1.56 million, and Ravco's was the lowest of 10 proposals. Bay Shore-based SJS Construction, which bid $1.29 million, and General Builders Inc. of Merrick, which bid $1.3 million, were among the finalists.

Mayor Greg Letica said the village has 96 percent of the funds needed to pay for the project, through resident donations and government grants.

The contract must be finalized and planning completed before the rebuild begins in about the same location, but on higher land that is less likely to flood.

Many residents were upset the final plans were not presented to them until village trustees were prepared to vote on the issue Monday night. Officials canceled a work session in October, saying there was no village business to discuss. Several residents said they expected that to be their chance to learn about final plans for Village Hall before it was put to a vote.

"You promised us a meeting about the Village Hall, and you crammed it in with some garbage so that we would all, what? Go away?" resident Anna Pollaci said to the trustees.

Resident Rita Rover asked the board to delay the vote until the December meeting so the public could have more time to review the project, but officials voted, noting it was a project that has long been in the works.

Village trustees said the changes were not significantly different from those residents had previously seen. "We have worked really hard to get to this point," Letica said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency contributed $533,854 to the project, and two additional government grants brought in another $77,000. Local residents have donated $298,000.

To come up with the final $38,685 without taxing the public, the trustees are looking to Asharoken's reserve funds, which collectively have $248,000.

A new Village Hall has been in the works since 2006, when trustee Mel Ettinger proposed the project under former Mayor William Kelly. Damage from Sandy two years ago renewed the urgency.

For now, village business is operating out of a trailer along Asharoken Avenue, with a separate trailer for the police department in the parking lot. Village meetings are held at the Northport National Grid building.

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