Time Is Running Out For Old Masonic Building


Garrett McCarthy had high hopes for the old Masonic building - line up money and tenants to make it an arts and education center.

But with a crumbling façade and a condemnation order on the front door -

"The recurring theme that comes back, the message is, get this building fixed and we will take a look," said McCarthy.

McCarthy owes more than $23,000 in back taxes, most of which he inherited from the Masons.

He must pay the money by June 24.

"The city will have the option to issue itself a tax deed on the property," said Jim Mills, city comptroller.

The city almost always does that.

"If the city becomes the owner of the building, it could put it up for sale, but the question is, who would want it?

There's a basic procedure when the city does take over a run-down building.

"Codes will go through, determine whether the house can be sold or not.  Same with a parcel like this and we'll face whether demolition is an option," said Mills.

"It'll sit and rot further with no attempt for any repairs because then that will justify the final wrecking ball coming," said McCarthy.

McCarthy does not have the $23,000.  

"So it's grim and it's a loss to the city," he said.

But, McCarthy is making a last ditch appeal to several private groups for the money.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016
, Watertown, NY

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