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STOCK_Highland Town Hall

The Town Council on Monday reversed its decision to purchase two adjacent properties on Kennedy Avenue to build a new town garage.

HIGHLAND – The Town Council on Monday reversed its decision to purchase two adjacent properties on Kennedy Avenue to build a new town garage.

"After due diligence, we discovered that these properties might not be what we hoped for," said Clerk-Treasurer Michael Griffin.

In September, the council agreed to purchase 10030-10040 and 10104 Kennedy, across from Crawford Doors, as a likely new home for the town garage.

However, at a subsequent meeting, resident Larry Kondrat pointed out that there is a designated wetland adjacent to these properties.

At that time, the council had speculated that additional adjoining properties could be purchased to move the Sharp Athletic Complex along with the garage.

"We knew there were some wetlands there," Town Attorney Rhett Tauber noted, adding that the council later learned that the size of the wetlands was larger than initially thought.

The federal government often allows construction on a wetland as long as commensurate land, to establish a replacement, is provided.

But in this case, the amount of land that would have to be mitigated, to replace the wetlands, made these sites unfeasible to complete the purchases, Tauber said.

The first parcel would have been purchased for $415,000 and the second would have gone for $222,000.

With the bottom dropping out of the plan, the town and the two landowners agreed to cancel the deal.

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Both landowners will get to keep the $1,000 earnest money each received from the town and one of them will be reimbursed for $1,800 spent toward buying a condo under the assumption that the deal would be completed.

The current town garage, which stands immediately west of the Sharp Complex, is at the north end of Kennedy near the river and Borman Expressway.

Town officials have long wished to relocate these two facilities to usher in commercial development along the river as Hammond is doing on its side of the border.

In other business, IT Director Ed Dabrowski said he is preparing for future council meetings to be streamed live on the Internet.

The streaming is likely to begin in January with the incoming council, he said, noting that the three new members campaigned on televising the meetings.

Dabrowski said it will soon be determined if only the business meetings will be televised or if the study sessions will be included.

He added that it must also be determined if just the council members will appear on camera or if it will also include the audience.

"It's very easy to stream a meeting," Dabrowski said, noting that it can be done with cellphones mounted on tripods.

The streams would be archived for future viewing, if desired, and could be watched live with online entities such as YouTube, he added.

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