Pioneer Street mill falls to wrecking ball

After decades of trying to get the old mill on Pioneer Street in the town of Amsterdam demolished, n

After decades of trying to get the old mill on Pioneer Street in the town of Amsterdam demolished, neighbors and town officials have succeeded and most of the building has been reduced to rubble.

Crews have been working for the last three weeks to demolish the 52,000-square-foot structure, built in 1871, the former home of the Rural Hosier Mill.

Over 75 percent of the structure is already down, leaving various piles of rubble, a smokestack, fire tower and a back wall still to be handled. Site engineer Brent Zimmer, of Delaware Engineering, said the remaining structures will have to be demolished carefully because of their proximity to the Chuctanunda Creek.

Nearby residents like Keith Kazala, who lives across the street from the old mill, have been fighting to get the building torn down since 1989.

Another neighbor, Jose German, said he is happy to have the building come down. He said his children used to play near the area and fish in the creek behind the structure, which he said was unsafe with the various chemicals inside the building and the structure falling down.

“We’re glad to finally see this come to fruition,” Supervisor Thomas DiMezza said. “It’s not a visible place, some many not even know its here, but the neighbors that live around it will be pleased.”

Utica-based Ritter Paratore Contracting Inc., won the demolition bid for $107,000.

The entire project is estimated to cost about $700,000. DiMezza said they are about on target with the costs. The town received funding for the project from various sources, including a $211,000 environmental restoration grant from the state Department of Environmental Conservation and $100,000 from the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors, but DiMezza said the town will have to incur some expenses. The county is also subsidizing the cost for disposing of the contaminated debris, DiMezza said.

Trucks will haul the debris to disposal sites of the Montgomery-Ostego-Schoharie County Solid Waste Management Authority. DiMezza said the agreement is also beneficial to the county because the anticipated nearly 2,000 tons of material will help meet the county’s trash quota with MOSA.

Town officials were reluctant to take possession of the old structure at first. In 2005 they paid $4,000 in back fire taxes instead of foreclosing on the property for fear of inheriting something with unknown contamination that would be costly to clean up.

Numerous 55-gallon drums filled with contaminants were inside the building.

Engineering consultant Zimmerman said the structure is full of asbestos and lead was found in the roof.

DEC officials were on the scene Monday supervising the work. One worker was in charge of hosing down the rubble so asbestos wouldn’t fly into the air. “It’s a meticulous process,” DiMezza said.

He said he hopes to turn the site, which is just over the city line, into some sort of passive use park area along the Chuctanunda Creek. He said there could also be a walking trail that leads to the city’s Shuttleworth Park.

Categories: Schenectady County

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