After more than a decade of neglect, a committee of the Town of Marlborough has released a plan that will breathe new life into the more than 40 year old TOMVAC building, located on Route 9W in Marlboro.
Previously, after the Town Board decided to sell the building, residents voted overwhelmingly to keep and rehabilitate the aging structure for use as a community/recreation center.
The TOMVAC Revitalization Committee, headed by co-chairs and town councilmen Scott Corcoran and Howard Baker, met for the past few months to decide on what they would like to see improved, both inside and outside of the building. The Committee consisted of Vinny Mannese, Celeste Ricciardone, Tom Corcoran, George Salinovich, Diana Henry, Joe Desole, Bill Woodward and Marie Toombs.
Phil Bell, of Bell Engineering, took the committee’s input and developed a floor plan and cost estimate for the work. QuES&T also developed a Visual Mold Assessment and Remediation Plan for the building.
The plan shows two major rooms – one at 2,550 sq/ft and a second, where the garage now is, at 1,269 sq/ft. Ringing these two are a series of smaller meeting rooms, kitchens, closets, storage areas, an ADA compliant handicap main entrance along with completely new men and women’s bathrooms.
Bell broke out the cost for the project, highlighting the demolition work, the remediation and new construction needed, with the total coming to $642,083 and of that $128,416 is listed as profit/overhead. Bell’s fee to develop the floor plan and cost estimate was $4,000.
Last week Corcoran acknowledged it was the Committee’s last meeting, “because we said pretty much everything we’re going to say and how we’re going to lay this out. Now it comes down to the hard part, the financial part.”
Corcoran presented a slide show showing all of the areas in need of attention. He explained the reasoning for separating the meeting and recreation rooms.
“We’re trying to not to share a recreational space within a community room space. We don’t want to do that because we don’t want the breakdown and the setup, people sweating and smelling in there and getting that odor out and then having people come in for a party, so we’re trying to separate the space,” he said.
Ralph Walters advocated doing the entire project at one time.
“If you borrowed $1 million, the debt service would not be significant over 25 or 30 years and it would hopefully pay for itself in rental fees. But to do a piece of it and leave the other piece, it’s never going to get done,” he predicted.
Corcoran said the Committee agreed.
“That’s what everybody on this Committee has said and that’s going to be the recommendation to the [town] board,” he said. “It’s easier to do it in one shot and if you have support now to do it, do it because later down the line somebody else might say we’re not doing it and its never going to get done.”
Walters highlighted the process for bonding the project, pointing out that, “If you never have to borrow it, you have the expense of a couple thousand dollars for the bond attorney, that’s the extent of it. You can’t wait until you’re half way through the project and then decide to do a bond resolution because what happens if the bond resolution is defeated in a public vote? So you do the bond resolution upfront.”
The town has a commitment of $250,000 for this project that was obtained as a member item by the late NYS Assemblyman Frank Skartados. In addition, Supervisor Al Lanzetta has reached out to NYS Assemblyman Jonathan Jacobson and NYS Sen. James Skoufis to see if they each can secure $200,000 for the project.
“Maybe if we’re lucky we’ll get another $400,000 but we are not going to know for another month because they just got their state budget,” Corcoran said. “We could start some stuff that doesn’t require demolition, maybe on the outside like the roof, the soffits, the eaves, siding and get the front entrance [facing Rte. 9W] done properly...We have to see what the $250,000 breaks down to and get the project started.”
Baker agreed, “but if we don’t get the $400,000 I say we bond for the whole thing.” Lanzetta said they can also tap some of the $250,000 to pay for ‘soft costs,’ such as the engineering fees. It was acknowledged that it will take at least a year to receive the $250,000 member item, which may delay the start of work on the building until the spring of 2020.
Corcoran said it is possible the project could end up costing from $780,000 to $830,000 because of the addition of more windows and doors, the expansion of a kitchen, installing a fire suppression system, replacing the HVAC system in both main rooms, a new electric system with 3 sub-panels, a new sidewalk, more handicap parking with a light post, a new water treatment unit and outside landscaping.
In a subsequent interview Corcoran said he will compile all of the data that was collected by the Committee and present it to the Town Board in a short, easily understood document by late May or early June.
Corcoran is hoping to receive the additional $400,000, which could allow any additional items above the estimate to be funded through the town budget. He favors putting a bond in place, allowing the town to tap it as needed but continue searching for grant money.
“That’s my personal opinion on the way to move forward. It gives the people information and insight on what we’re doing and it gives them a voice when you’re talking about big projects,” he said. “I think the overlying understanding was that the community wanted this building back and to be used as public use.”
Initially Corcoran voted to sell the building because he favored getting a minimally used structure back on the tax rolls but adjusted his stance after the public voted to keep it.
“I heard what the people said and I respect that 100% and that’s why I wanted to be chairman of this committee. I think we did a very good job and I do feel we can do this project and can make it something the public can be proud of,” he said. “We’re trying to make it so it can economically pay itself back.”
Supervisor Lanzetta praised Corcoran, Baker and the Committee for their work on developing the plans for TOMVAC.
“The end result is a good design and I am very happy,” he said. I am also glad that the air of hostility, or whatever you call it, after the December vote disappeared and we got over that and worked as a unit. Regardless if you were for selling it or keeping it, it ended up that we all came together [and] the plan shows the residents of the town that we’re committed to resurrecting this building.”