Written by Rich Forestano Wednesday, 08 May 2013 08:38
The Water Authority of Western Nassau County expects to move into its new home in New Hyde Park next month, according to officials. The authority has called South Tyson Avenue in Floral Park home since 1996.
The water authority, formerly Jamaica Water, floated two bonds to help build a central garage and the main headquarters, according to Water authority Chairman John E. Ryan. Western Nassau was looking in Floral Park, Elmont and in the surrounding areas of the district to find a new home. It came down to cash.
“The owners of the properties were asking for a lot of money,” he said. “It was not doable. [New Hyde Park] was a good location at a good price.”
The $8-million project kicked off in 2009, but experienced delays because the architect at the time essentially skipped town.
“We wanted to be out of there about four years ago,” Board member Marianna Wohlgemuth said. “The plans were drawn up by an architect, who filed plans with the town [of North Hempstead] and then he moved to Hawaii. Communication became very difficult. [The architect] wasn’t responsive.”
The plans were retooled, according to Wohlgemuth, due to oversights by the previous architect. Engineers on the project originally subbed out work for the project out due to volume, which Wohlgemuth said was “a recipe for disaster.”
“Once you do that, then you have too many pots on the stove,” she said.
Western Nassau pays about $22,000 in rent per month in Floral Park. School and real estate taxes per year totaled about $50,000, officials said.
“The project is moving along,” Wohlgemuth said. “I have to say it’s gone better in one year than the several years that we’ve come to this point. When you’re building a building like this, [the town] has to approve whatever you built so you can move onto the next step and we’re at the point where we’re looking to move in.”
The authority’s budget totals about $10 million, which sports a less than 2 percent increase in payroll, according to Wohlgemuth. A budget hearing is set for May 29. Ryan estimated that ratepayers would see a $264,000 in annual savings since Western Nassau now owns the property.
“The benefit of owning the property is you get off the tax roll,” he said. “It’ll be a benefit to the ratepayers that they won’t have to absorb the tax payments we have to make to the landlord and we won’t have to pay rent anymore.”
Angelo Corva of Angelo Francis Corva and Associates is the lead architect and took over the project around June 2011. He has held weekly meetings with the authority’s six contractors since he came on.
“I reviewed documents prepared by the previous architect and bid the job somewhere around the beginning of 2012 in January or February,” he said.
Construction started on July 1, 2012. According to Corva, the project is 80 percent complete.
“It’s going well,” said Corva. “It’s been a task but it’s progressing.”
Corva is hoping to finish the job at the end of June or early July. North Hempstead building department reps need to assess the project before giving the go-ahead.
“We worked within the design parameters of what was outlined before I came onto the project,” Corva stated.
According to North Hempstead spokesman Colin Nash, town reps have been at the 9,400 sq ft. building throughout the process.
“We’re conducting routine inspections as the work goes along,” said Nash.