CATSKILL — Almost a year after historic interior furnishings from the former Greene County Sheriff’s Office appeared on an online auction site, the winning bidders returned to pick up their items.
A U-Haul truck was parked at the entrance to the old jail building, at 80 Bridge St., on Friday, and a man and a woman, bundled in winter clothing, were loading the vehicle with doors. The couple declined to be interviewed.
An advertisement for “Vintage Windows, Doors, Radiators, Floors, Molding & More” was listed on Auction International in late March last year. The winning bidder, called “ronrully57,” won the items for $260.
When the auction winners first arrived last June to claim their items, a controversy arose.
“When we initially realized wood from the sheriff’s office was being taken out instead of just the kitchen equipment we put up for sale, we put a stop to it,” Legislature Chairman Patrick Linger, R-New Baltimore, said.
Greene County Administrator Shaun Groden had inadvertently authorized the auction.
“I actually authorized it in an email I must have read at 80 miles an hour,” Groden said in July. “In parentheses there was wooden windows and doors that I must not have caught.”
The email was sent from the Greene County Sheriff’s Office, Groden said.
“I responded and told them to proceed,” Groden said. “I told the board. I take full responsibility for it.”
The timing of the sale was off, Linger said.
“It was prematurely done but the auction was legal,” he said. “We had to wait until we made a State Environmental Quality Review Act determination.”
After lawmakers decided the demolition of the jail complex would not have an adverse impact on the environment, the county gave the winning bidders the green light to retrieve their items, Linger said.
Linger said he expects bid packages for the demolition of the old jail to go out next month.
Discussion about how the property will be used is continuing, Linger said.
One option is to create more parking. The engineering firm of Barton & Loguidice designed two different parking-lot options for the site, with either 23 or 41 parking spots. The estimate for the project is between $1.33 million and $1.9 million.
Barton & Loguidice estimated that to develop a new 5,000-square-foot office building on the parcel would cost between $1.13 million and $1.2 million.
Constructing a new office complex to meet the needs of the Office of Court Administration and possibly the Public Defender’s Office is an option, Linger said.
“[The Public Defender] is in need of space and it does make sense logistically,” he said. “I could potentially see it happening. It depends what kind of space is available.”
Built in 1908, the old Greene County Jail and the sheriff’s office are listed on both state and national historic registries.