Watershed Ag Council eyes move to Treadwell's empty school

Above: The vacant A.L. Kellogg School in Treadwell may become the home of the Watershed Agricultural Council. Photo by Robert Cairns. 

The long-vacant A.L. Kellogg Elementary School building in the Delaware County hamlet of Treadwell could soon become the new home of the Watershed Agricultural Council (WAC).

Fred Huneke, a member and former chairman of the WAC board of directors, confirmed that the WAC had entered into a 90-day option agreement to buy the building, though he cautioned that “it's far from a done deal.”

Huneke said that the WAC needs to consolidate its operations. It currently has about 60 employees split between buildings in Hamden and Walton. He said the Treadwell site is well-suited for WAC's operations.

“If it does go there, it's going to be a good deal for us,” he said.

He also said that Treadwell residents support the use of the former school.

“They're pretty excited,” he said. “We'll do our best to be good neighbors.”

But Huneke then reiterated that the move may never happen. “We have a lot of hoops to jump through,” he said.

The WAC, according to its website, works with farm and forest landowners in the New York City watershed region to protect water quality using whole farms plans, forest management plans and conservation easements. The WAC also administers the region's Pure Catskills buy local program.

The Treadwell school building was built in 1995 and was closed by the Delhi Central School District in 2007 due to declining enrollments. It was later sold to OSP Capital LLC, a group headed by Delhi businessman Scott Clark, for $150,000. Sports fields adjacent to the school are owned by the town of Franklin.

The building was briefly at the center of controversy in 2013 when Delaware County officials tried to move the county's mental health clinic to the facility by leasing the space after reportedly refusing an offer from the school district to sell it to the county for $1. 

The Community Services Board, a board appointed by the chairman of the Delaware County board of supervisors, resolved to move the clinic to the school building in April 2013.

That decision met with resistance from several supervisors and was rendered moot when it was determined that several members of the Community Services Board had exceeded term limits and were ineligible to serve.

A reconstituted board released a request for proposals for a mental health clinic a year later but, to date, the facility remains in Walton.