In July 2014, the prison atop Mount McGregor in Saratoga County closed after nearly four decades in operation. Now, the state of New York is looking to sell the property. WAMC’s Southern Adirondack Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports a request for proposals expires at the end of the month.
Most recently a prison, the facility at Mount McGregor has served a variety of purposes over the years.
If you go to the site, you’ll see the typical high fences, but some buildings also feature large windows not associated with a jail. It was once a tuberculosis hospital. Before that, a mountain top resort. Nearby, Grant’s Cottage, where the dying president wrote his memoirs in the late 19th Century, still stands.
Even though the site has been empty for the last few years, Empire State Development Regional Director Michael Yevoli says the buildings are in good shape.
“A lot of the building structures are still in place. They’re still in excellent condition. And they are the typical buildings you would see on a campus like this, whether it was a TB hospital or whether it was a prison,” said Yevoli.
Until May 31st, the state is accepting proposals from anyone interested in giving the facility a new life. Yevoli says the state will consider plans that meet the wishes of locals.
“What we hear is replacement of jobs and economic activity that occurred when it was a prison. It was important to the community. And we also understand how important that is and we’re looking to replace that with the appropriate use that will benefit the surrounding community in a form of, hopefully, jobs and increased activity,” said Yevoli.
The campus itself sits mostly in the town of Moreau, while the road into the compound travels through the town of Wilton.
Wilton town supervisor Art Johnson was among many after the announced closure in 2013 who wanted the prison to remain open to protect good-paying jobs. Now he’s hoping something will move in to provide more economic activity.
“So our economic benefit would be bringing visitors through the town and hopefully spending money and buying things in the town,” said Johnson.
And there’s the potential tax benefits to the surrounding communities and the county.
One party interested in buying the property is the New York State Baseball Hall of Fame. Not affiliated with Cooperstown, Hall of Fame Executive Director Rene Leroux says his organization needs exhibit space and room for ballfields.
“The Mount McGregor facility has ample room for our hall of fame buildings. We also run the New York State Basketball Hall of Fame, so we need buildings for both,” said Leroux.
Leroux, one several individuals who took a tour of the facility earlier this month, envisions a place where Little League tournaments could be played. He also predicts jobs would be created by the Hall of Fame itself in addition to spurring economic activity from families traveling and staying in the region.
All proposals are due on May 31st at noon.
For more information visit: https://esd.ny.gov/doing-business-ny/requests-proposals/mount-mcgregor-correctional-facility-rfp