ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – 18 News has confirmed Chemung County has finalized the purchase of the former Five Star Bank building on 150 Lake Street for one million dollars. The Chemung County Clerk’s Office says the County officially took possession of the building on June 23rd. County legislators voted to approve the purchase in April. The specifics of how the building will be used have yet to be announced.
Chemung County Executive Chris Moss told 18 News the Dept. of Building & Grounds is currently conducting an assessment of the property to determine what changes are needed. The assessment also includes changing locks, lights and checking the building’s HVAC system. Mr. Moss said its still too early to announce which county departments will be moving in to the property, but he hopes to have at least a couple of departments moved in before the winter.
The more than 50,000 square foot building and 230 space parking lot is located on 150 Lake Street and East Market Street. It sits right across several county buildings, including the County Legislature, County Clerk’s Office, and District Attorney’s office. The money to purchase the property is coming from federal Covid-19 funding the County received from the American Rescue Plan.
In May, the Chairman of the Chemung County Legislature told 18 News the legislature approved the purchase of the property for “the purpose of consolidating 6-8 county departments. The Legislature has worked with the Executive to solidify the proposed purchase that will allow the savings on current leases for office space and parking areas. This new purchase allows for the county 230 parking spaces and a significant amount of additional well needed office space.”
At the April 10th legislature meeting where the purchase was approved, Chemung County District Attorney Weeden Wetmore voiced his objection to a building that would house both the District Attorney’s office and the Chemung County Sheriff, or any other law enforcement agencies.
“I have a problem,” Wetmore told county legislators. “If I’m going to be meeting with witnesses, with confidential informants, with potential victims of crime, if they’re next to a police agency that’s investigating those crimes, what happens if the parties pass each other? It’s across the street from the Public Advocate. It’s across the street from the Public Defender. They say, well you’re going to be on the second floor. Rodney says you’re going to be on the second floor. We got elevators. People are going to go by. I like where we are. However, I need space.”