Residents in the city’s 2nd Ward neighborhood will soon have a prettier landscape if local company Fiberglass Industries follows through on an offer to tear down three buildings at 16-22 Shuler St.
Members of the Common Council unanimously agreed this week to give Fiberglass the city-owned property so the company could demolish the blighted buildings.
According to Alderman Dan Roth, R-2nd Ward, Fiberglass Industries, which has been in Amsterdam for more than 50 years, would demolish the properties to help beautify the neighborhood and company representatives intend to turn the parcels into green space with shrubbery, trees and flowers.
“It wasn’t even a question once they told me what they were going to do,” Roth said.
Roth said it was a good story that a local company was willing to invest in the city and is taking the initiative to help out the city’s campaign to reduce blight.
Roth said $50,000 is the estimated cost of demolition.
The city has been navigating a slow process of jointly training with the county public works crews to demolish properties. Certification in asbestos removal and other requirements are needed before the team is operating. Until then, Roth said, initiatives such as the offer by Fiberglass Industries, which is located in the Edson Industrial Park, are welcome.
“You are starting to see people who are having that pride again and it’s a big morale boost for the community,” Roth said.
The city will convey the property to Fiberglass Industries contingent on the company securing the necessary demolition permits within three months.
Roth said he is pleased that the city is taking a proactive approach to ensure that transferred property is taken care of in a timely manner. He said too often the city transfers property under the premise that it will either be cleaned up or demolished and nothing happens.
According to Fiberglass Industries President Arthur McMannus, this is not the first time the company has pitched in to help manage the city’s blight problem. Though the company has no immediate intention of redeveloping the Shuler Street site, the city has placed no restrictions on the company as to what it eventually does with the properties.
City housing inspector Luis Aguero said the agreement between Fiberglass Industries and the city will help reduce the number of vacant city properties that must be policed and secured.
Aguero said the appearance of private industry to demolish a few of the city’s many dilapidated properties is encouraging.
“We have too many abandoned and dilapidated buildings in this city and we definitely need a good program to demolish them,” he said. “You can’t go wrong with private investment.”
Aguero said he once found six children inside the lower part of one of the Shuler Street buildings.
“That’s very bad,” he said. “We have to keep children out of buildings like this and if the building is gone that’s less for them to go into.”
City officials were given a list of nearly 70 properties in need of demolition from the housing and code enforcement office at the beginning of this year.
Aguero said a program to demolish these buildings is necessary to answer complaints such as those recently voiced about 4 and 6 Clinton St,, properties that Aguero said the city has tried to secure for over six years.
“These properties have become a dumping site for neighbors and other people,” Aguero said. “We get complaints multiple times per year about these two properties. The only thing we can do is demolish them, and until we secure the funding to do that we are going to keep getting complaints, which creates more work for me and for the aldermen.”
Categories: Schenectady County