Future of 34 Gleneida Avenue debated

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CARMEL – What will be the future of 34 Gleneida Avenue in downtown Carmel?

The two-story brick building overlooking Lake Gleneida was once the location of a thriving auto dealership.

Putnam Motors operated from the main street location for decades before the business closed and Putnam County purchased the building.

Over the years several county departments and agencies used the facility including the Putnam County Clerk. However, in 2012 at the request of former County Clerk Dennis Sant, construction took place at the County Office Building in order for the clerk’s office to be housed in one facility. That left 34 Gleneida Avenue virtually unused.

The Putnam Economic Development Council and the county’s Industrial Development Agency which also used second-floor office space also relocated to other space within the county.

Currently, United for the Troops is putting the building to good use as a storage outlet to assist in their mission of supporting American troops overseas with hard to find supplies and messages of support from county residents.

The County Legislature’s Physical Services Committee is continuing to debate the future of the building.

In her State of the County Address in 2018, County Executive MaryEllen Odell offered three suggestions. The first was to sell the property to a private entity which Odell said would “increase Main Street business while placing the facility back on the tax rolls as well as reducing the annual fiscal burden of carrying utilities, security, and maintenance by county personnel.”

A second suggestion called for keeping the property as county offices. Odell said such a decision would require a “capital investment to be determined but could also benefit our local community economy.”

Suggestion number three related to converting the building into a consortium for Putnam’s substance abuse providers. Odell said over the past several years she had been approached by the Mental Health Association, National Council on Alcoholism-Putnam, Peer to Peer Program, and the Veterans Services Department to create a ‘one-stop-shop’ concept while providing a Main Street presence in order to make the services readily available to those in need.”

When the future of the building was debated last year, a comparative market analysis of the structure was conducted indicating a market value of between $700,000 and $750,000 on an ‘as is’ basis.

Committee chairman Carl Albano at present the building serves no purpose “but my thoughts have always been to keep it since 34 Gleneida is part of the county campus. I remain open for suggestions at this point and time.”

Legislator Joseph Castellano agreed that the “building has been vacant for too long. We must decide on its future. Sell it, upgrade it or tear it down in order for visitors to get a clear view of our magnificent county courthouse.”

Legislator Neal Sullivan of Mahopac sees things differently. He believes that “constituents want lower taxes and the county must find ways to shrink the size and expense of government to accomplish this goal. Putnam’s population is decreasing and so should the size of government.”

Sullivan said by placing the building back on county and town tax rolls, tax revenue would be increased by some $30,000. “Keeping the building will cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars for upgrades while making the facility ADA compliant; besides, the county could certainly use the estimated $700,000 from the sale of the building to fund other projects.”

The lawmakers agreed to request an updated comparative market analysis and place the building for sale determining if anyone has an interest in its purchase.