Sackets Officials Ponder Fate Of Madison Barracks Buildings

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It's a mystery what lies behind some doors at Madison Barracks in Sackets Harbor, but not for members of the Sackets Harbor village planning board.

Cameras weren't allowed in, but members toured a mess hall and theater at Madison Barracks.

The buildings date back to the late 1800s and both have been mostly vacant since the Army left after World War II.

"It has had no use other than to store stuff since then," said planning board chair Gary Gibson, "which is about 65, 66 years."

The structures have been deteriorating, with broken windows and piles of bricks. 

The owners, still trying to sell the properties, are applying to have the buildings torn down, which is why the planning board got to go where few people have gone.

"Site tours are extremely valuable because there's no substitute for having one's own eyeballs on what we're talking about," Gibson said.

Of course, applying to tear down buildings like these and actually tearing them down are two totally different things.

"Our village zoning law, because these are in our historic overlay district, has some rather strict rules," Gibson said.

Maybe down the line these two buildings won't be standing, but there is always a kind of hope."

"I suppose if you want to buy it, the owner, Lawler Reality, would, I'm sure, be happy to talk to you," Gibson said.

That's been the case for decades: historic buildings for sale, historic buildings falling apart.

It's up to the planning board to figure out if tearing down pieces of Sackets Harbor's history will help its future.
Monday, September 22, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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