Aging structure partially collapses in Amsterdam

The eastern wall of a brick building on West Main Street partially collapsed Friday, leaving a gapin

The eastern wall of a brick building on West Main Street partially collapsed Friday, leaving a gaping hole in the more than 100-year-old building at 182 W. Main St.

No one was injured in the incident that occurred about 10 a.m.

City Housing Inspector Luis Aguero said the property has been on the city’s list for demolition for more than three years. The building has been vacant and abandoned for years, Aguero said, before the city purchased the property about six years ago.

“This is an example of what’s going to happen more in the city until the Common Council does something to take these building down,” Aguero said. “I guess it’s going to fall down on its own. Apparently that’s what the council is waiting for.”

Aguero said the property is one of the most unsafe in the city. The two-story building was built mostly with bricks and very little timber. Aguero said as the bricks erode, the danger of collapse increases.

“This type of collapse is not uncommon for this type of structure,” he said.

Because of the building’s age, Aguero said, there is probably asbestos and other hazardous materials in the structure. He said the building needs to be completely demolished.

Mike DiMatteo, of 186 W. Main St., said the side of the building next to his home collapsed about three years ago and he had bricks on his driveway. DiMatteo said he doesn’t feel unsafe living next to the building, however, and he understands that the city will demolish it when there is enough money to do so.

DiMatteo’s property is the only one next to the building, which is in a neighborhood with little foot traffic and few residents.

Mayor Anne Thane said a committee has been organized to look at the city’s need to demolish properties. The committee met for the second time Friday and is working on a plan to get ahead of the city’s problem with dilapidated buildings.

She said the committee is trying to find ways to pay for demolition either through bonding or by tapping the city’s surplus funds.

Alderman Daniel Roth, R-2nd Ward, said the committee wants to take down buildings in a neighborhood to start revitalizing entire areas rather than take down random structures. However, he said public safety is his first priority.

Roth said the West Main Street property is not the first one to partially collapse before the city could tear it down and it probably won’t be the last.

“Our housing stock has not been looked at in 15 years,” Roth said. “We need to figure out a way to revitalize these neighborhoods.”

Categories: Schenectady County

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