City officials are mulling a land swap with Spa City Recycling so that the scrapping business can be relocated to a site at the old city landfill and its existing space on South Franklin Street can be utilized for the Beekman Street Arts District.
Mayor Joanne Yepsen said the owner is amenable to relocating to an area off Weibel Avenue that could conceivably allow the business to grow. In exchange, the property still owned by the family of Sol Figelman would be deeded over to the city for art district parking or perhaps open space.
Yepsen said Spa City Recycling no longer fits in the growing arts community on the west side. She said moving the business to the city’s outskirts would offer a solution for the art district’s lack of parking and put an end to the many complaints the city receives about the business each week.
“Our code enforcers get called almost daily with noise complaints,” she said following the City Council’s agenda meeting Monday.
The scrapyard has existed in the same location for nearly a century. But revitalization efforts and gentrification of the city’s once rough-and-tumble west side have placed Spa City Recycling at odds with some of the surrounding residents and businesses.
Yepsen first mentioned the potential of a land swap or perhaps an outright purchase of the property during a town hall-style meeting she hosted a block from the site in March. At the time, she suggested finding a new parcel for the business could help increase parking in the district and showed a rendering with a 74-space lot that could be created on the site.
Parking is considered one of the most prominent obstacles to expanding the arts district. In March, the city’s Planning Board voted against supporting the Beekman Street Association’s proposal to more than double the area where art studios and other commercial uses are allowed.
Giorgio Atzeni and James Riccardi purchased the scrapyard from Figelman in 2012, but not the land. The owners have a lease and have indicated a willingness to move if a more suitable location presents itself.
A call to the business was not returned Monday.