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Decision to demolish old Essex Co. Jail put on hold

May 1, 2008
GEORGE EARL, For the News
ELIZABETHTOWN — Plans to demolish the old Essex County jail have been postponed along with the issuance of $500,000 in serial bonds to fund its removal and clear the site, according to Elizabethtown town Supervisor Noel Merrihew.

Earlier this month the Essex County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution authorizing approximately $350,000 in serial bonds to tear down the jail and $146,000 to remove a modular jail unit behind it.

Merrihew called for “a step back to allow for more discussion on the issue,” which the board unanimously supported Monday. Department of Public Works supervisor Fred Buck said that the county board is now considering alternatives to demolition.

The move came after questions were raised in a letter issued Friday from an historic preservation group, the Adirondack Architectural Heritage, as well as several Essex County residents, imploring the county to consider alternatives to demolition of the Civil War-era building.

Concerns were raised that the board of supervisors had decided on demolition before a proper reuse assessment or public hearing were conducted.

If demolition of the jail is ultimately decided on, it will still require State Environmental Quality Review and approval from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation in Albany, according to Steve Engelhart, executive director of Adirondack Architectural Heritage.

Contact George Earl at 891-2600 ext. 25 or



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