Watertown Officials Concerned About Mercy Building
City of Watertown officials are looking for answers. The Mercy building on Stone Street is expected to end up vacant next month when the Mercy Care Center closes.
"What if there's break-ins, are there alarm systems in place, is somebody checking on the building, is it properly winterized, because we all know a building like that can go downhill quickly," said Mayor Jeff Graham.
The problem is, the company that owns the building has not been communicating with the city, so there's no way to know if there are plans for the building's future.
Graham says there has been some outside interest in the building, but that creates what he calls a vexing problem.
"It's really tough to get into discussions with anybody, let's say, housing or anything else, when you don't have title to it," he said.
"The first question anyone asks you is 'do you have control of the property?' Graham said.
"Once Samaritan leaves, we don't even have the ability to access the property, because it is private property."
The city is working on getting in touch with both the building's owner and the company that has a lien on the property.
It's possible the city could end up taking ownership of the building in the future.
"If they don't pay their taxes on it and it's uninhabited, we could inherit a building that is in deplorable condition and it could be costly," said council member Joe Butler.
Butler says dealing with the Mercy building will likely be one of the biggest issues facing city council in the next couple of years.
Thursday, July 31, 2014, Watertown, NY
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