The fate of the Orange County government center is still up in the air more than two years after it was damaged by Tropical Storm Irene and the remnants of Lee. Tuesday night, there was a forum held to talk about what to do with the building that houses county government, moving forward. Jessica Chen was at the meeting and joined us with more.
ORANGE COUNTY, N.Y. -- It was a heated forum with dozens of people packed into the Goshen Senior Center. Every seat was filled Tuesday night.
The topic of discussion was whether or not to renovate or demolish the Orange County Government Center in Goshen.
The group Taxpayers of Orange County sponsored the event.
"To demolish this building and build a new one, it has no purpose whatsoever," said Harvey Berg of Taxpayers of Orange County.
The building that housed the main government office has been closed for more than two years since it was damaged by Tropical Storm Irene and the remnants of Lee. County Executive Edward Diana is pushing to tear down the 45 year old structure and build a new one.
"There should not be any demolishing done until there is a full investigation," said Orange County Legislator Myrna Kemnitz.
Some legislators are concerned Diana's plan would cost taxpayers more in the long run.
Kemnitz said, "It would be six to nine months of budget 'cause you're adding equipment and you're paying men the hours to do the work."
Kemnitz says gutting two of the buildings and renovating the third would cost around $50 million. Diana's plan to tear down all three building would cost around $80 million.
"You fix it, you gut it to the walls and cut every single molecule and put in new molecules," Kemnitz said.
And the issue is at a standstill with residents wanting to keep the architecturally unique building
"The building is a vibrant contribution from Orange County to the heritage of American architecture," one person said.
Neither Diana nor a representative from his office was at Tuesday night's meeting. We did reach out to the County Executive's office for a comment, but the office has not returned our calls.