N.E. hall ex­pan­sion could be costly

Study finds $600K+ pro­ject es­ti­mate



— While North East town hall can sup­port a sec­ond floor, adding one would cost at least $600,000, a re­cent engi­neer­ing as­sess­ment found.

Ear­lier this fall, North East ap­proved a $6,900 engi­neer­ing study to as­sess the fea­si­bil­ity of adding a sec­ond story to town hall. The re­sults of the study were pre­sented at the town’s meet­ing last week, with the engi­neer­ing firm es­ti­mat­ing it could cost any­where be­tween $600,000 and $800,000 to add a sec­ond floor.

North East has long out­grown its cur­rent town hall, lo­cated at 106 S. Main St. in the heart of the down­town, but has been never been able to find a suit­able place to re­lo­cate.

With build­ings on two sides and the town’s lone down­town park­ing lot on the other, town of­fi­cials ini­tially felt their best op­tion might be to ex­pand up­wards. But the price tag is now giv­ing them sec­ond thoughts.

“Tech­ni­cally, it can hap­pen, but it’s a very ex­pen­sive process,” Melissa Cook-MacKen­zie, town ad­min­is­tra­tor said on Mon­day.

If North East were to go this route, Cook-MacKen­zie


said the town would also likely have to pay to rent of­fice space some­where for its staff while the construction took place, which would also add to the cost.

So town of­fi­cials are once again con­sid­er­ing whether they might be able to ex­pand out into the park­ing lot or even add space that’s over town hall but not sup­ported by the cur­rent build­ing. To get a bet­ter idea of just how much space, the town might need, the town board last week au­tho­rized $2,600 for a space needs as­sess­ment, Cook-MacKen­zie said.

One op­tion that ap­pears off the ta­ble is re­lo­cat­ing from town hall’s prime down­town lo­ca­tion. In Septem­ber, the town board was con­sid­er­ing whether North East could buy the for­mer PNC Bank build­ing at 14-18 S. Main St., just up the road and re­lo­cate there.

The board had dis­cussed do­ing an engi­neer­ing as­sess­ment of that three build­ing com­plex but ul­ti­mately de­cided to as­sess whether a sec­ond floor could be added to the ex­ist­ing town hall first.

But ear­lier this month, Joseph Fa­rina, managing bro­ker with Di­varis Real Es­tate (DRE), told the Whig that the com­plex was un­der con­tract with an­other com­pany, with set­tle­ment ex­pected in the next few months. Those three units, to­tal­ing about 10,392 square-feet on one par­cel, had been on the mar­ket for $725,000 for more than two years.

For now, North East is gath­er­ing all the in­for­ma­tion needed to as­sess its op­tions with the goal of stay­ing put on Main Street, Cook-MacKen­zie said.

“For­tu­nately, the mayor sup­ports the con­cept and sees the value of stay­ing on Main Street,” she said. “We cer­tainly could go out and find acreage else­where, but we feel that’s not in our best in­ter­ests long-term.”


Sandy Tester­man, of Conowingo, took up hunt­ing last year and wears pink-themed gear in honor of being a breast can­cer sur­vivor.


A fire­fighter bat­tles the blaze at 370 Old Bayview Road near North East on Tues­day morn­ing.


A re­cent engi­neer­ing study found that adding a sec­ond floor to North East town hall could cost at least $600,000.

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