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Tue., Oct. 6
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Closing for Fort Drum Vehicle Storage building extended a week


The woman who successfully bid on the former Fort Drum Vehicle Storage warehouse on West Main Street has one final chance to close on the property.

The Watertown City Council agreed on Monday night to give Ruby C. “Charlene” Williams until the end of the business Nov. 27 to finalize the deal to purchase the warehouse at 753 Rear W. Main St. or council members will look for other offers.

Ms. Williams, the chief financial officer for the vehicle storage company, failed to arrive at the building’s closing on Friday. She also did not contact city Comptroller James E. Mills or City Attorney Robert J. Slye to give a reason.

Mr. Slye will now send a letter to Ms. Williams notifying her of the default deadline.

Before proposing that council members vote on it, Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham said “it was reaffirming it’s an absolute deadline.”

On Monday night, council members did not agree on the next course of action if she fails to make arrangements about the building.

At an Oct. 10 public auction, Ms. Williams successfully submitted a $125,000 bid for the warehouse, which previously housed about 90 vehicles for the company until it was lost to back taxes.

On Friday, Ms. Williams told the Times she was surprised to hear her attorney had not talked with Mr. Mills about the situation. She blamed missing the closing on suffering from “walking pneumonia.” She planned to call Mr. Mills immediately to straighten it out before City Hall closed at 5 p.m. but that never happened, Mr. Mills said.

The company was formed in 2005 to serve deploying soldiers in need of a place to store their vehicles. The owners, JoAnn Sanchez-Norquist and John S. Norquist, lost the building after failing to pay $17,776.37 in back taxes.

On Thursday, the Watertown Local Development Corp. decided to start collection procedures against the Fort Drum Vehicle Storage company for being delinquent on a $40,000 loan taken out to help form the company.

In July, the owners of Fort Drum Vehicle Storage promised they would start making double payments, including interest and late fees, to get back on track with the loan. They paid only that month.

As a result, the WLDC, also known as the Watertown Trust, will instruct its attorney to initiate collection procedures for the $28,456 still owed to the economic development agency.

In other business Monday night, council members:

n Heard from five residents who want the city to stop putting fluoride in the city’s water supply, contending that the chemical causes health problems. In response, council members plan to discuss the issue at Monday night’s work session.

n Heard from three residents who want the city to establish a dog park on city property.

For the past four years, Dorsey Street resident Scott A. Gates has tried to persuade council members to build a dog park. During previous efforts, he raised about $200,000 for the dog park, but the City Council never took any action on the proposal.

On Monday night, Mr. Graham said he would not oppose the dog park, adding that residents would have to draw up more definitive plans for such a project before he would completely support the idea.

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