After nearly a decade of planning and a few months after residents voiced their support, officials in Hampton officially broke ground on construction of a new town hall last week.
Around 30 people — current and former town officials, members of the Hampton Volunteer Fire Department, and interested residents — attended a ground-breaking ceremony, held before the town board’s regularly scheduled meeting last Wednesday.
Using two golden shovels, town council members Dave Jensen, Tamme Taran, Herb Sady and Dave Perry were joined by former Supervisor Don Sady as they ushered in the construction of the new town hall.
Current Supervisor Dave O’Brien, standing in front of a large excavator and on the grounds of the former and future town hall, reflected on the long path the town had traveled to arrive at that point.
“This has been about nine years of planning,” O’Brien said. “It’s been a real community effort and this is a big moment in the history of Hampton.”
Long time coming
The town has been assessing the state of its town hall for years. The former building, a small, one-room structure on the southbound side of Route 22 was nearly a 100 years old and beginning to show its age.
Storage and security were inadequate and the foundation needed repairs estimated to cost between $35,000 and $45,000. Instead of making those repairs, which would have failed to address other issues, the board decided it was in its best interest to construct a new town hall.
The new structure will be a one-story building with basement, 28 feet wide and 52 long. It would contain space for three to four offices and feature a 27-by-28 foot meeting room.
The total cost of the building has been estimated to be $89,000, which includes a cushion for unexpected costs. It will be paid for using sales tax receipts collected from the county over the last seven years. Officials have pledged not to borrow any money to complete the building.
With the exception of the building’s electrical system, the entire structure will be built by people from the community.
All but one of the construction bids were awarded to contractors from Hampton and it’s expected some labor will be completed by volunteers. Much of the demolition of the old building was achieved using volunteer labor.
A crew of dedicated residents helped strip slate from the roof, remove the wainscoting, and gut the interior of the building the weekend of Aug. 11 and 12, and the shell of the building was torn down as well.
The foundation was expected to be poured this week and the surrounding area back-filled by next week.
It’s projected the exterior of the building will be framed next month and the rest of the work — plumbing, electric, roof, interior — will follow accordingly.
The goal is to have the building complete by November’s elections.
In the interim, the town clerk’s office has been moved to a small construction trailer near the town highway garage and board meetings will be held in the garage.
Besides housing the municipal offices and the town’s courts, officials may consider other uses for the facility as well.
“I’d like to say community groups could use the building,” O’Brien said.
The building wouldn’t be available to rent, but groups may be able to hold meetings and other functions there.
The board plans to revisit the matter and how it would work in the coming months.
In other matters, the board interviewed Tony Demercurio for the vacant animal control officer position.
Demercurio stated he had previous experience working as an assistant animal control officer in Guilderland.
The board is expected to review his application and will make a decision before next month’s meeting, which will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 19.