LAKE PLACID - The village isn't the only landowner Essex County is trying to acquire property from as part of an $8 million plan to realign and upgrade Old Military Road.
County Attorney Daniel Manning said the county is planning to purchase a total of 13 small parcels of land along the side of the road that are needed for the project. The county has hired a consulting firm to meet with property owners and perform appraisals.
"We are in the midst of obtaining various pieces of property along the area that needs to be realigned," Manning said.
Instead of trying to acquire rights-of-way or easements from property owners, the county is looking to purchase the parcels in "fee title," Manning said.
The county has offered to pay anywhere from $100 for the smallest parcel to $52,600 for a .69-acre parcel of land owned by the village behind the Lake Placid firehouse. That property includes a small bridge over the Chubb River and is part of an open area where the village dumps snow in the winter and where horse trailers are parked during the horse shows late June and early July.
The county also is offering the village $1,100 for a 98-square-foot, triangle-shaped parcel of land in front of the firehouse, at the intersection of Old Military Road and Mill Pond Drive.
The village could challenge the value the county has placed on each parcel, but village Attorney Janet Bliss told the village board two weeks ago that if no agreement can be reached, the county would just take the land it needs for the project in exchange for whatever price it considers fair.
The village board hasn't formally discussed the offers from the county. The subject may be on the agenda at the next meeting on Monday, Sept. 14.
County Public Works Superintendent Fred Buck said the project involves replacing the Chubb River bridge and realigning Old Military Road near the firehouse and the intersection with Station Street and Averyville Lane. He said the work is being done to make the road safer and because the bridge is failing.
Buck said the project could go out to bid next year, with construction targeted for next summer.
Meanwhile, county officials are asking the state to consider taking over Old Military Road and designating it as a state highway, instead of having state routes 73 and 86 run through the heart of the village. The state already plows and maintains Old Military Road in the winter.
"It should be a state highway rather than going through the village," Buck said. "Most of your heavy traffic is on that road. It would relieve some of the congestion in the village."
Buck said the Old Military Road realignment has to be completed before the state would consider taking over the road.
Contact Chris Knight at 891-2600 ext. 24 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
(This article has been corrected.)