By Joshua Maloni
The Town of Lewiston Town Council held an executive session Monday night. Board members discussed the Frontier House, which led some in the community to speculate the municipality was again interested in purchasing the 194-year-old Center Street property.
On Thursday, Supervisor Steve Broderick said, "There's been no decision made. The town is definitely interested in helping save the Frontier House, if we can. (Former Supervisor) Dennis Brochey had a pretty aggressive plan to save the Frontier House when he was in office. I have no intention of following what he wanted to do."
In 2015, Brochey had the building assessed in the hope of finding a price at which owner Hastings Lewiston would sell to the town. The calculated number was $750,000, which was said to be about $250,000 less than the asking price at that time. Talks subsequently broke down.
"If there is a way that the town can help, we would not be opposed to that," Broderick said. He explained, "It's just talk now, but it would probably be more in the lines of a Greenway project, but on a lot lesser scale than Mr. Brochey."
Village of Lewiston Mayor Terry Collesano said his board is diligently looking for ways to save the building, which closed to the public in December 2004. On partnering with the town, he said, "It's really too early to say anything, but we have been working behind the scenes with the town."
On Wednesday, Hastings Lewiston attorney Joseph Makowski said, "We don't have an offer. ... We're open to conversations with whoever may be interested in wanting to purchase and/or develop the Frontier House. We've ruled nothing in or out. Right now, we're focused on putting ourselves into a position to address the building department's/building inspector's issues with respect to shoring up the premises. That's where our attention is now."
A matter of alleged exterior building code violations is currently before Hon. Town of Lewiston Justice Thomas Sheeran. The judge has twice informed Hastings Lewiston principals Richard and Judith Hastings he is intent on seeing repair work put in motion, or a sale initiated.
Last weekend, village residents spotted repair work taking place outside the Frontier House.
Presently, "My client is trying to do certain remedial work himself," Makowski said. "And then other work will have to be done by third-party vendors."
The attorney has tasked the architectural/engineering firm E.I. Team to create a renovation plan of action.
"They've ran some numbers for us, and then I asked them to go back and refine certain of the numbers consistent with the actual charges, if I can use that term, that were provided to us by the building inspector," Makowski said. "They were refining their numbers, so that I would know their thoughts as to the actual cost of making these repairs. And then I was going to share that information at the appropriate time with either the court and/or with (village counsel Joseph Leone).
"The answer is yeah, we're working on it."