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The City Operations Committee decided Tuesday to send to the Common Council proposed legislation authorizing a $61,000 offer for a building and less than two acres at 1308 River St.

The property is to be used as open space to compensate for the loss of a nearby playground, which is the site of a new water treatment facility.

If the legislation is approved Tuesday, Mayor James P. Griffin will sign the purchase offer and conclude one of the final steps leading to construction of the plant.

Community Development Director John Sayegh said the building on the property, a former Dresser-Rand Co. warehouse, contains between 2,500 and 3,000 square feet of space. Most recently it was used by Dexter Electronic Materials Division.

The property owner is listed as 1980 West Sullivan Corp., headed by James Dwaileebe. In the past, Dresser conducted a Phase 1 environmental assessment that led to a cleanup of the property. That work included removal of underground fuel tanks and soil contaminated in the past by fuel and oil spills, Sayegh told city aldermen at the meeting.

"It came out clean, and we are recommending Council approval," he added.

Sayegh also explained that, as part of the transaction, the Council is expected to swap flood plain access easements from River Street to Olean Creek with an adjacent property owner.

After the meeting, Sayegh said that the warehouse is in good shape and that the city will decide later if the building will be torn down or used for storage or other purposes.

In another matter, Griffin responded to recent comments aired on a local television station that were critical of the dog control program enacted after an SPCA contract was not renewed.

Griffin said allegations that the city conducted widespread euthanizing of dogs "are not founded in fact."

He reported that 56 dogs have been seized by the city's animal control officer and other enforcement staff over the past two months. Of those, 24 were returned to their owners, 21 were adopted, seven were kenneled between five and seven days, and four were euthanized. Of those euthanized, two were put down on the recommendations of a veterinarian and two were ordered euthanized by a judge as a result of a cruelty case.

He said he hopes to devise a plan to control the cat population and is willing to discuss arrangements with the SPCA for a secondary contract. The city's Police Department, backed by the animal control officer, handles feral cat complaints now.

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