By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO A decade in the making, Liberty’s slaughterhouse proposal took a major step forward Tuesday.
“Believe it or not, after many, many years and hard work by a lot of people, we’re here to accept the bid on the red meat facility,” Sullivan County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) Board Chairman Ira Steingart told his colleagues at Tuesday’s special meeting.
That bid was for the five-acre property’s sitework, which the board unanimously approved (minus Charlie Barbuti, who abstained, as he’s Liberty’s town supervisor).
Six bids arrived earlier this month at the IDA, the lowest being Sullivan County Paving’s at $1.3 million.
“That came in slightly above our approved budget with the United States,” IDA attorney Walter Garigliano explained, referring to the federal grants that will help fund the project.
So engineer Glenn Smith worked with SC Paving to bring that down to around $1.14 million.
“We’re looking to raise the floor elevation of the building five or six feet,” Smith explained this week, meaning that the contractor won’t cut as deeply into the ground. “That will reduce the earthwork by several thousand cubic yards.”
Several planned retaining walls will instead be “creatively graded,” he added, and a sewer line will be shortened, thanks to a closer connection than anticipated.
Don’t expect work to begin immediately at the Willow Lane site, however. Garigliano said the IDA must still obtain a temporary construction easement from the Village of Liberty in order to transport material to and from the property.
“Part of the equation is the weather,” added IDA Board member Harris Alport.
This bid, too, is just for the sitework. On Tuesday, the board approved soliciting proposals from contractors interested in designing and constructing the 5,000-square-foot building itself, after which a facility operator will have to be found.
But after years of delays and difficulties, officials appeared very relieved Tuesday.
“All I can say is, finally!” remarked board member Ed Sykes.