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GOSHEN, N.Y. - Some call it an eyesore but a group of Orange County residents say the Government Center is a structure worth saving.
"It’s part of our legacy, our heritage. To tear this building down would be a terrible waste," said Nancy Kearing, founder of the The Taxpayers of Orange County.
"Architecturally, it’s a building that stands among the best buildings in the world," said Francis Wickham, a retired architect.
In the past, county executive Ed Diana has advocated knocking down the building completely and rebuilding it from scratch after its closure in 2011 stemming from the damage it suffered during Tropical Storm Irene and the remnants of Lee. But when asked after his recent budget address, Diana said he was open to compromise.
"The one thing I hope happens is a vote before the new legislature and the new County Executive takes office because I would hate to go back to square one. That would be a total waste of time and money," said Diana.
Architects describe the building as a treasure, one of the great works of the 20th century.
At one point it hosted a number of county agencies but now those agencies have been spread out and relocated.
"If we were to try to build this building today, we would not be able to afford it. This was about a 35 million dollar building in the late 1960’s. This is close to maybe 300 million dollars to build today," said Steve Brander, an Orange County based architect.
On the tour, Wickham explained the building was created in the late 1960's when the county was transitioning from a board of supervisors to a county legislature form of government.
"They were visionaries. They created a building that said something about civics, something about how a government works and they commissioned a rather prominent architect, Paul Rudolph," said Wickham.
The Taxpayers group will hold a public forum on this issue a week from Monday at the Dennis Cosgrove Community Center in the Town of Wallkill from 7-9PM.