21 Aug 2014
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Patch Instagram photo by jordan_manowitz

What to Do About Wasted Space in Village Hall? [Empty in Southampton]

The second and third floors of Southampton Village Hall have been empty for years.

Southampton Village Hall is and at one point or another has housed the Police Department, Building Department, Village Justice Court and U.S. Post Office, as well as private firms and a phone company.

In 2012, while the first floor contains the Village Board room and several offices for village business, the second a third floors are used for nothing more than storing boxes of old documents. It's still apparant where the holding cells once stood for the , which relocated to a new building on Windmill Lane in 2002.

Flooring, walls and fixtures have been gutted, leaving both the second and third floors in need of major renovation before they can be occupied again.

In recent years, there have been talks of selling Village Hall and using the proceeds to construct an environmentally sustainable building on Windmill Lane — but the Village Board dropped the idea after a public outcry. Many wanted Southampton Village Hall to remain on Main Street in its current space. Residents and business owners cited the historic nature of the building and the character of the village as well as the foot traffic that Village Hall brings to downtown businesses.

An alternative plan is to renovate Village Hall in a manner consistent with the Americans With Disabilities Act, including an elevator. The village went as far as commissioning architectural drawings. But this proved a costly prospect and was put on the back burner when the Great Recession hit. Instead, village officials turned their focus on a new headquarters for the , which .

One idea that has been floated but never came to fruition is leasing the first floor to a retail business and using the proceeds to fund the renovation of the top floors for village offices. Restoring Village Hall would also allow the village to save the expense of leasing space on Hill Street for the Building Department, as the expansive second and third floors could fit all the departments currently located on the first floor, and then some.

What would you like to see done with ? Should the village float a bond to renovate the building? Should alternative funding be sought? Should the village just sell 23 Main Street and start anew elsewhere in the village, possibly next to the police station? Share your ideas by leaving a comment below.

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