SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – In a setting built for spirited athletic competition, the gears of Saratoga Springs city government are grinding.
“I have to tell you it is working well,” Saratoga Springs Mayor Meg Kelly said Friday afternoon. “It is really quite interesting because now we are face- to-face with everybody in City Hall, we are getting to know everybody a lot better than when we worked at City Hall.”
For the past two weeks the recreation center on Vanderbilt Avenue has served as a pop-up city hall, following a lightning strike and fire at the at actual City Hall on Broadway August 17th.
“Everything is happening [here],” Kelly said while standing in the middle of the basketball court that now houses about half of the city’s operations. “We were up and running within six days. That was pretty amazing, the fire was on a Friday and we were operating the following Thursday.”
Three weeks after the fire, the demolition work continues on Broadway.
“There is still water in the walls that they are removing, walls, ceilings, floors,” Kelly said. “There is still a lot to be done before we can even start the construction phase.”
Until the interior demolition work is completed at City Hall, Kelly says the insurance company will not be able to provide an estimate on the total cost of repairs. Because of that, city leaders had to postpone a meeting earlier this week to discuss the capital spending plan.
“We have a lot on our plate right now and we just don’t know where we are financially and to be fiscally responsible, we just felt like we put a hold on that,” she said.
City leaders will also not have a clear sense of how long the repair work will take until after the insurance company completes its work.
In the meantime, Kelly says employees are making the most of their new surroundings.
“It is just a really nice thing for me to be working in an environment like this where we have face-to-face conversations every day,” Kelly said. “It is interesting because there is very good morale here.”