Sold!

PERTH – One-word responses such as “yup” and “hey” reverberated throughout five Tryon campus buildings Wednesday during a public auction of items left over from the former detention center.

Unlike the old days, the campus, surrounded by barbed wired, was open to whoever cared to drive in and take part in the day-long auction conducted by the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency.

The IDA, which now owns the Tryon site, plans to turn it into a business park. The auction of items that were in some of the buildings was a precursor to a development project.

“It went very well,” IDA Executive Director James Mraz said today. “Everything was sold. There was a lot of interest.”

Approximately 500 items were auctioned off. Mraz this morning didn’t have a final tally on how much money was raised. Examples of items auctioned off included a freezer that sold for around $1,000 and a generator sold for nearly $1,800.

The money will go to the IDA.

The state transferred the title of the Tryon property to the IDA, which is working with Fulton County government to covert the property into a business park. The park at this time is being called the Tryon Technology Park and Incubator Center.

The IDA will demolish four of the campus’s 40 buildings to make way for phase one of an infrastructure project at the site. The contents of those four buildings, as well as the old Tryon maintenance building, had to be removed. That’s why the IDA had the auction.

Auctioneer Ty Eglin on Wednesday morning slowly went through one of the dark, crowded buildings, pointing to and holding the contents of various numbered items for people to bid on.

Once they bought items, the largely male group of auctiongoers exited an open bay of the building and were required to haul their goods immediately offsite. Many pickup trucks crammed the winding streets and parking lots of the Tryon property.

“I’m looking for woodworking stuff, like a sawdust blower,” said a young Amish man, who declined to give his name.

Hundreds of items, from garbage bags to speed limit signs, had remained onsite from the era when the state Division for Youth – later incorporated into the state Office of Children & Family Services – operated the state’s Tryon Detention Facility on County Highway 107. The state closed the facility for troubled youths and left many of its contents behind.

Broadalbin-based Adirondack Auction Sales conducted the auction for the IDA.

“I go to a lot of auctions, and this one caught my eye,” said auction goer John Hladik of Johnstown. “I like it because it’s taxpayer stuff and it’s not a private type of auction.”

Ken Holland of Broadalbin said the “real story” Wednesday was how the state spent taxpayer money to improve Tryon “and then shut it down.”

The four buildings to be razed by the Fulton County Demolition Team, which Mraz said should start its work next week, were previously deemed “unsafe” and “dangerous,” and condemned by the county.

The IDA is keeping the core buildings from the old Tryon days intact. They include a full-size gym, an Olympic-size pool and a 250-seat auditorium.

The county received a $2 million grant from Empire State Development to help pay for the first phase of the infrastructure project.

Jablonski Excavating of St. Johnsville was the low bidder at $1.12 million for the first phase. Work to be done includes: 2,500 feet of new road, 3,900 feet of new water line, 600 feet of new sanitary sewer line, repair of the electrical system at the site’s wastewater pump station on the north side of County Highway 107, repair of the wastewater pump station on the south side of County Highway 107, construction of a stormwater collection system for a new road, the energizing of the electrical system, charging of the water system, the unplugging of sewer lines, and the restarting of sewer pumps.

Michael Anich can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.