Stay Sought on Demolition of OC Government Center

June 24, 2015 Updated: June 26, 2015

A state judge cleared the way for demolition of part of the Government Center in Goshen on Monday, but opponents are still holding out hope that it will remain after attorney Michael Sussman submitted papers seeking a stay on the demolition.

He represents three plaintiffs who challenge that the environmental review of the demolition, called SEQRA, was not done properly and that it would have a much larger impact than the County projected.

State Supreme Court Justice Christopher Cahill dismissed those claims, but Sussman is now working on an another challenge under SEQRA to stop the demolition.

While the court case only deals with the SEQRA issue, those who oppose the Government Center’s partial demolition do so on cultural and economic grounds as well.

They say that the building, built in 1967 and designed by architect Paul Rudolf, is a historic icon that brings tourists and thus money to Goshen.

They point to architect Gene Kaufman’s offer to buy the building as-is, renovate it into an artist space as he has done with a building in Brooklyn, and design another building alongside it to use for the County government, as a more economic alternative. They say this would save taxpayers millions of dollars.

Sussman is now working on an another challenge under SEQRA to stop the demolition.

On the other side, the County, with approval from the legislature on the issue, is painting Sussman’s case as a waste of taxpayer money by involving the County in a legal battle. County Executive Steve Neuhaus said in a statement. that “anybody from the private sector can understand that legal uncertainty can impact costs.”

Proponents of the demolition have also said that the building’s modernist design does not fit with the city’s colonial architecture, and because of its faulty design, does not merit renovation. 

The County will respond to Sussman’s appeal by Friday, and the case will be considered next week.

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