Former Lyon Mountain Prison sells for $140,000

Once a public school, the Lyon Mountain Correctional Facility operated from 1984 until 2011. Now it's up for sale. Photo: New York state

Once a public school, the Lyon Mountain Correctional Facility operated from 1984 until 2011. Now it’s up for sale. Photo: New York state

Back in May, NCPR’s Brian Mann reported on New York state’s plan to auction off the former Lyon Mountain Correctional Facility in the Clinton County town of Dannemora (to further pinpoint it, it’s in the hamlet of Lyon Mountain in Dannemora). The state set a minimum bid of $140,000 for the 27-acre, 23-building facility, but some locally wondered if there would be any bids at all: The former prison is boarded up and in a remote part of the Adirondacks, where they wondered if industry would be interested in locating.

But those worries were apparently unwarranted, as the prison’s been sold for the minimum bid to a Quebecois businessman. That’s according to the Plattsburgh Press-Republican. Gilbert Rybicki was the sole bidder for the prison, according to the New York State Office of General Services, at an auction held at Dannemora Town Hall Wednesday.

Rybicki has 120 days to complete the deal. Since the former prison complex is within the Adirondack Park, it’s subject to APA regulations.

Office of General Services spokeswoman Heather Groll told me that since Rybicki bought the facility as a private buyer, he’s not under any obligation to disclose his plans or anything about himself. “The good news, though”, she said, “is that the property will go back on the tax rolls, and that’s that’s the idea behind divesting ourselves of unused surplus property, so it can become useful again, whether it’s for a community or private use. Abandoned properties don’t do anyone any good.”

7 Comments on “Former Lyon Mountain Prison sells for $140,000”

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  1. Paul says:

    I thought that under the constitution that the state was not allowed to sell land in the Adirondacks? I wonder if he is thinking about moving the guys from Guantanamo bay up here?

    But seriously, how is it legal to sell state owned land in the Adirondacks to a private buyer?

  2. Walker says:

    Paul, land has to be formally added to the Forest Preserve before it becomes land that can’t be sold without a constitutional amendment. They bought Gabriels for a prison, and would have sold it if they could have found a buyer. The land the State Police and APA headquarters is on could be sold.

  3. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    I am kicking myself for not buying this as my zombie apocalypse fortress.

  4. Alan Gregory says:

    Some historical data in the article would’ve helped me, the reader. For example, when did the prison shut down? Why? How many years did the prison operate? When was it built? What was its maximum population of inmates? There are others

  5. Pete Klein says:

    The prison in Lyon Mnt. was originally the school.
    Most of the prisoners were low level drug offenders.

  6. Paul says:

    Walker, thanks, yes that appears to be the case. If you look at article 14 it says this:

    “Section 1. The lands of the state, now owned or hereafter acquired, constituting the forest preserve as now fixed by law, shall be forever kept as wild forest lands. They shall not be leased, sold or exchanged, or be taken by any corporation, public or private, nor shall the timber thereon be sold, removed or destroyed.”

    It must have to do with this wording regarding”constituting the forest preserve”. Like you say it has to be first classified as FP before it falls under this article. I raise this question since I saw this article a while back written by Dave Gibson:

    He says that FP is simply defined as follows and some special classification does not need to be made. Walker, is there a process in place to classify land as FP when purchased?

    “That statute defined Forest Preserve as all the lands owned or hereafter acquired by NYS in the counties of Clinton (except the towns of Altona and Dannemora), Delaware, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Lewis, Oneida, Saratoga, St. Lawrence, Warren, Washington, Greene, Ulster and Sullivan except: a. lands within the limits of any village or city, and b. Lands, not wild lands, acquired by the state on foreclosure of mortgages made to the commissioners for loaning certain monies of the United States usually called the United States deposit fund. I doubt that Camp Gabriels, or any of the other “non-Forest Preserve state parcels named here fall within those constitutional exceptions to Forest Preserve. – See more at:

  7. Walker says:

    Paul, I’m sorry, Gibson has got to have a better handle on this stuff than I do! I just assumed that there had to be a process by which land became part of the FP, but it sounds like that’s not the case– otherwise they wouldn’t need that “Administrative Use” classification.

    Strange! So they’re just depending on no one objecting?

    Anyone know anything for sure on this?

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