City authorizes demolition and salvage of Wren’s Nest building


In a Jan. 4 called meeting (delayed from an earlier date), Oneonta City Council members voted to accept B&H Dirt and Demolition’s low bid for razing the Wren’s Nest, formerly known as Miller Gallery, on Oneonta’s First Avenue. City manager – economic developer Ed Lowe advised councilors that the seven bids ranged from B&H’s low of $7,100 to $35,000.

Lowe reported several had expressed interest in salvaging the building but none made any such proposal to the city. B&H will salvage some portions of the building while demolishing others.

In the 7:30 a.m. meeting, occurring in public safety director – administrator Brandon Horton’s office, Councilman Danny Robinson asked of any progress on city-wide recycling. Lowe explained that the city’s contract authorizes up to three recycling bins, but that the recycling market has bottomed.

He held that China no longer accepts unsorted American refuse and that waste disposal companies typically, now, merely dispose of any designated recyclables in regular landfills. Robinson and others suggested they might invite waste company officials to a council meeting to examine the situation.

Councilors voted to hold two public hearings immediately prior to their regularly scheduled meeting on Jan. 9. The hearings (which were to have occurred last night) were to consider aligning city alcohol days and hours with the state ABC Board’s maximum time sales and to require pawn shops to record gun sale serial numbers.

The anticipated alcohol sales ordinance amendment would expand Oneonta sales from midnight to 2 a.m. and would permit sales on election days. The pawn shop ordinance would mandate by statute a policy already followed in practice by local pawn shop owners. Shops would check and record serial numbers against data for stolen weapons and for listing as police-accessible information.

Councilman Richard Phillips asked of any needed next step toward establishing an ordinance for his planned city historical commission. City attorney Alex Smith advised that while the council would not have to hold another public hearing on the matter, he felt that would be advisable.

Members declared several police department items as surplus, permitting disposal of those. Mayor pro temp Hal Blackwood presided in the absence of Mayor Ross Norris; Councilman Nathaniel Butler joined Blackwood, Robinson and Phillips in the absence of councilor Tonya Rogers. The council holds its regular sessions the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers.