In response to charges that the recent renovation of Town Hall left the Tinker Street landmark with chronic heating problems and other systemic flaws, the Woodstock Town Board convened its February 18 meeting at the site, inviting town employees and members of the public to make their own judgments about the project’s outcome.
Representatives of the three municipal departments based at Town Hall — police, emergency dispatch, and justice court — uniformly praised the results of the approximately $1.7 million renovation, which expanded and modernized their offices. The project was completed last April. In attendance were both of the town court’s justices, Richard Husted and Frank Engel; the police chief, Clayton Keefe; and the dispatch supervisor, Lori Hamilton.
By all accounts the temperature in the spacious courtroom, where the meeting unfolded, was comfortable — warmer, some observers noted, than the main room at the Comeau Drive town offices, where the Town Board usually meets. Nevertheless, councilman Bill McKenna, who served as the board’s liaison on the approximately $1.7 million renovation, acknowledged the persistence of isolated heating problems elsewhere in the building, including two rooms in the back and the lobby in front.
The councilman vowed that any remaining flaws would be fixed, with the work performed by the renovation’s contractors and not by municipal departments. McKenna said that he has asked Town Hall-based employees to submit a list of heating “issues,” which he will discuss with the renovation’s heating contractor, DJ Heating and Air Conditioning, of Rhinebeck, during an upcoming “walk-through” of the building, the second such visit by the contractor since the renovation was completed.
If a heating-related problem was found to result from the system’s failure to meet design specifications, the contractor would be expected to do the remedial work and absorb its cost, the councilman stated. “The contractor is responsible for balancing the heating and cooling systems,” said McKenna in a February 19 interview.
Meanwhile, Woodstock supervisor Jeremy Wilber sought to rebut charges by the onetime clerk of the works for the Town Hall renovation, Don Snyder, that the building was contaminated with asbestos residue when town employees returned to work there. Snyder and other critics of the project have described its alleged flaws in letters to this newspaper. The Town Board dismissed Snyder at an early stage of the construction process and replaced him with Charlie Wesley, who oversaw the completion of the project.
Wilber presented various documents, including reports by Alpine Environmental Services, an Albany firm charged with asbestos abatement at Town Hall, demonstrating that asbestos had been removed and shipped from the building twice in August and September of 2012 and that the air at Town Hall had received a “passing” grade in a final test on September 6, 2012. The documents included the Asbestos Handling License issued to Alpine by the state Department of Health.