Temporary First Student Location RevealedPosted: Updated:
When Watertown students are picked up for their first day of school, their buses will be coming from an outer Bradley Street warehouse rather than a new garage at the Jefferson County Industrial Park.
Developer Mike Lundy tells 7 News he's leasing the former Walsh Trucking facility on Route 12 just outside the city limits.
He says First Student, the company which won the Watertown City School District's bus contract, will use the 4.5 acre property while construction continues on the new garage.
The new garage is the subject of a legal battle involving Lundy, municipal groups and businesses in the industrial park.
"There's some litigation that's going on," district Superintendent Patti LaBarr said, "and we need to make sure that the buses are ready to roll on day one."
Car-Freshner Corporation and Opal Development LLC have filed a lawsuit in state Supreme Court against the Town of Watertown, the Town of Watertown Planning Board, the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency, the Jefferson County Planning Board, the Jefferson County Planning Department, the Jefferson County Fire Prevention and Building Code Department, Lundy Development & Property Management, and LUNCO Corporation.
Both Car-Freshner and Opal, which own property in the industrial park, have individual lawsuits pending to halt the bus garage. A third party, local developer P.J. Simao, is also suing the town of Watertown to stop the project.
The Car-Freshner and Opal suit alleges, among other things, that the bus garage violates zoning laws and municipal groups failed to consider environmental impacts, such as increased traffic.
"The litigation has had a disruption in our schedule. We believe the litigation has no merit," Lundy said.
Lundy also said he has directed his legal team to pursue damages against Car-Freshner and Opal.
"It's something I am keeping an eye on, making sure that we can move forward and making sure that First Student and the Watertown City School District is working together through the transition plan," LaBarr said.
Lundy says he'll renovate the inside of the buildings on the Route 12 property over the next couple of weeks, so it'll be ready for First Student.