The city has asked the owner of an abandoned gas station to clean up what officials say is blight.
The former Getty station at the five-way junction of South Broadway, Circular Street and Route 50 attracts skateboarders, some of whom attempt dangerous stunts.
Although officials and residents long have complained about the site, which has been empty for more than a decade, officials took action after someone shot photos of teen skateboarders dangling from the top of a steel canopy that used to shelter people pumping gasoline.
“We showed the pictures to the attorneys and they went back and showed them to the owners,” said Anthony “Skip” Scirocco, public works commissioner.
City officials worried that the city could be liable if someone got hurt, so the Public Works and Public Safety departments teamed up to approach the owners, asking them to clean up the property within 30 days, Scirocco said.
“You can go by there any time of day and see kids skateboarding. Cars were cutting through to get over from Ballston Avenue from South Broadway because they didn’t want to wait for the light,” he said.
The owner, Crown Oil No. 1 Company, agreed to do the cleanup, Scirocco said. Representatives from the company could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
The city wants the company to remove the steel canopy, two small outbuildings and islands with bolts sticking up in the air, Scirocco said.
“I think they understand where we’re coming from and they’re going to work with us.”
No plans for the property’s redevelopment have come before the city. Some officials had suggested the city buy the property and turn it into a small park, a move that Scirocco opposes because of possible environmental contamination and high traffic in the area.
“My thoughts on that are, ‘Why buy into that liability?’ ” he said. “It’s a real busy intersection.”
He thinks the small property would be ideal for a parking lot for one of the adjacent businesses. “I would like to keep it on the tax rolls at this point.”
A 2,400-square-foot piece of the property was seized for a turning lane for a $1.5 million South Broadway reconstruction project.
Scirocco said the main part of that work is going to be finished in about two weeks, just before the start of the racing season. The project includes decorative street lights, storm water upgrades and new trees, curbs and sidewalks.
A base coat of pavement will be applied to smooth out the road and a topcoat will be paved after the racing season, Scirocco said.
“When it’s done, it’s going to look really nice,” he said.
On the other side of the city, installation of new granite steps in front of City Hall will have to wait until the end of this month or early August, Scirocco said.
The Vermont company supplying the 2-inch granite veneer that will go atop the poured concrete steps has not yet cut the stone, he said.
So work has been suspended on the steps until the end of the month. Bronze railings will be installed after that, and the restored lions returned to their guard on either side of the steps.
The lions, which had been painted brown, have now been finished with a bronze patina, he said.
“This is my pet project,” Scirocco said. He expects it to be complete in the middle of August.
More from The Daily Gazette: