Progress is underway on several long-running building projects in New Paltz

Work continues at the site of the new Stewart’s in New Paltz. (Photos by Lauren Thomas)

Visible progress is being made on several long-running building projects in the Village of New Paltz. The new firehouse, Stewart’s, and new construction near the library on Church Street are all moving along quickly. Village building inspector Cory Wirthmann provided updates on those projects and also commented on some others.

After long negotiations with state officials and discussions with architects, the firehouse on Henry W. DuBois Drive is being replaced with one able to accommodate all the necessary equipment and more. The former firehouse is being dismantled piece by piece by its purchaser, who, according to Wirthmann, intends to rebuild the structure elsewhere for a business purpose. “I’d rather see someone get use out of it,” Wirthmann said.

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That building is owned not by the village fire department at all but by the fire company, the nonprofit association that’s technically the social structure for volunteers. Though Wirthmann is chief of the department, the fire company has its own leadership of social officers. It was they who negotiated to sell the building material, allowing Wirthmann as building inspector to ensure that the entire process was safe.

Many firefighters have been hearing about a new firehouse for over a generation, and Wirthmann will forgive them if any are still skeptical it’s finally coming to pass. “They haven’t been involved in this project as much as I have,” he said. It will soon be quite clear that the new firehouse is really happening.

Only the old fire bell remains on the former site of the New Paltz Fire Department’s Station 2 at the corner of North Putt and Henry W. DuBois Drive.

On Church Street, John Johnson has approved plans to erect commercial buildings on property near the Elting Library parking lot, next door to the Inn at Orchard Hill with the carriage house. Actual construction has been delayed for some time. Wirthmann predicts construction within the month, once final details are ironed out with building inspectors.

Next week, the framing of the new Stewart’s will start at the lower end of Henry W. DuBois Drive. Though the building should be up in very short order, the traffic light will not be operational right away. The planning board empowered the building inspector to issue a temporary certificate of occupancy; the light has to be up and running within a year after the plans were signed.

Village trustees authorized the mayor to sign a contract to purchase the house at 5 Broadhead Avenue from the Stewart’s corporation for a dollar. It’s hoped to find a developer willing to refurbish the historic building.

The primary construction on Zero Place is nearly finished, and contractors there will be turning to preparing the site for landscaping and sidewalks. Access may be closed to passing pedestrians in the short term, Wirthmann warned.

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