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Engineering study, appraisal to be completed on Lewis Lanes

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LOWVILLE — Though one is cheaper and could eliminate the need for the other, Lewis County legislators simultaneously are moving ahead with two measures to determine whether their $1 million purchase offer for Lewis Lanes will be completed.

A full appraisal will be conducted by Watertown appraiser Donald G.M. Coon III at a cost of $1,800.

Mr. Coon conducted a preliminary appraisal when the purchase agreement was made in October, valuing the bowling alley property at $1.12 million.

That estimate “was based on one approach to value,” Mr. Coon said. He expects the full appraisal to take approximately three to four weeks to complete.

When asked if he could predict whether the full assessment would remain near the original $1.12 million, he said, “I don’t know what it will come in at.”

Legislative Chairman Michael A. Tabolt said, “I’m confident the appraisal we took the first time is accurate and was done in a professional manner.”

He also said he had no concerns about moving ahead with an engineering study, which is expected to take about six weeks.

Bernier, Carr & Associates was selected to conduct that study, which will determine whether the space can be renovated to meet the office space needs of the county. That assessment will cost $5,000 — thousands of dollars less than two proposals the county received from other engineering firms.

Bernier, Carr’s president, Rick W. Tague, said his team originally had offered to complete the study for free. However, when the requests for proposals went out, elements such as an environmental review had been added to the scope of the study. Bernier, Carr assessed the value of the free services at $23,730, leaving the county to pay $5,000 for the entire study, which is valued at $28,730.

The environmental review must be favorable as a condition of the contract.

The sale of the property was to have been completed by January, with the county leasing the property back to the sellers, Richard E. and Derek Crouse, until the end of this month. The Crouses initially planned to close the lanes after league bowling ends April 29.

The sale stalled, however, after two legislators got cold feet about the purchase and rescinded the offer.

The Crouses filed a lawsuit, but in the meantime, a new Board of Legislators reintroduced the purchase agreement and it was approved.

In light of the extension of their ownership, Richard E. Crouse said, “We’re going to remain open for regular business after the leagues end.”

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