Work begins on Blenheim municipal offices
By Patsy Nicosia
Blenheim’s moving on up.
In an informal event at what will become the new home for the town’s municipal offices, fire department, and Department of Public Works Wednesday, Supervisor Don Airey talked about Blenheim’s long road to recovery since Hurricane Irene in 2011.
With $4 million in funding through New York Rising and the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery, the town is moving all of its municipal offices out of the floodway.
Work at the 12-acre site along Route 30, a couple of miles south of North Blenheim, began as soon as the weather cleared this spring and Mr. Airey said he hopes to have DPW in its new space by the fall.
That building features five bays and an office and has radiant heat flooring.
The second, larger Town Hall has office, meeting, and court space and attaches to the firehouse, which is in the rear.
“It’s a good spot with a lot of potential next to our neighbors at the New York Power Authority,” Mr. Airey said.
Also with a lot of potential: the buildings Blenheim is leaving behind on Route 30 and near the Blenheim Bridge.
Mr. Airey said he’s interested in the possibility of using the existing municipal building—built after the pipeline explosion in 1991—as a station for county Emergency Medical Services.
He’s also exploring other options for that and the DPW building, some of which are included in Blenheim’s 88-page Long-Term Community Recovery Plan.
“It’s been a long road, but when I look at that plan, I’m pretty proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish,” Mr. Airey said.
Not the least of which is rebuilding the historic Blenheim Bridge with funding from FEMA.
A ribbon-cutting and dedication at the bridge is slated for Saturday, June 29, beginning at about 11am.
There will be speakers, music, state and local dignitaries, and refreshments, and the Blenheim Museum will display the tools of the original 1855 bridge’s builder, Nichols Powers.
“That’s exciting too,” Mr. Airey said. “The bridge has always been such an important part of this community and its past.”
And it’s future too.
After watching a family enjoying the shade of the bridge while kids played in the creek a few days ago, Mr. Airey said he’d like to see the site promoted informally as a nice place to kayak or canoe or just enjoy the view.
“It’s an incredible asset,” he said. “It draws people from all over and with a little signage, a little more parking, we can make it even better.”