The historic hall has been without heat all autumn and winter, after approval of construction of an HVAC deck on the back of the building was held up by a legal challenge.
Abutters brought legal action against the town claiming they were not properly notified of a Development Review Board meeting, during which the plan was approved. The abutters also said the approved unit would be too ugly and would not coincide with the historic elements of the building and historic district.
After the abutters’ legal contest was thrown out by the state’s environmental court, the town and abutters began to work toward a solution, but now that the ground is frozen, it is too late in the season to dig out sections to construct the deck’s support posts.
Following the cancellation of two major events at the hall, the Bright Lights craft fair and the annual holiday concert, the town wanted to move swiftly to find at the least a temporary solution.
Town contractor Tim Jeffords and energy coordinator Chuck Clerici came up with the idea of using a mobile unit to heat the hall. The town rented a “heat wagon” from United Rentals in Clifton Park, NY, and easily attached it to the hall’s ductwork installed this year.
According to town manager Scott Murphy, the heat wagon will cost the town less then the hall’s annual heating budget, due to the time elapsed in cold months.
The rental comes just in time for a wedding scheduled for Friday, and Murphy said the move made for one very happy bride-to-be. “It’s a tremendous asset for our community,” said Murphy. “It was a difficult time when the Hall was down, but the encouraging part is the Irish dancers are coming in March along with the wedding this week, so it will slowly get going again, and it’s good to keep the building heated for its longevity.”
The town will continue with the deck installation in the spring, and is currently in talks with Crafts Inn to use their right of way for construction vehicles and transporting supplies. The town is also having a special roof built for the unit, in order to help ease concerns over aesthetics.