Kraham: Binghamton Plaza Ground Contamination Could Be Addressed
Binghamton City Council is prepared to vote on using eminent domain to seize North Side property that's been home to a retail shopping complex for six decades.
The Binghamton Plaza was built on the site of the Stow Flats dump. Hazardous materials buried on the property have been the source of concern for years.
The site contamination has been an obstacle in efforts to redevelop the plaza property.
Speaking at the Binghamton Plaza on Monday, Mayor Jared Kraham told WNBF News that the environmental issues at the site are well known. He said "they certainly are a challenge."
But, he said, "if the city's not in the driver's seat" to make the cleanup and redevelopment, it's not going to happen.
Kraham said "the site is in basically the same condition as it's been for many years." He said the city wants to "find a way to demolish this blight, find a way to clean up this property because if we don't do it, no one will."
The mayor said: "Yes, it is a challenge but we're in the business of taking on big challenges."
Kraham indicated he expects state and federal assistance could be made available to cover some of the expected costs of dealing with contamination at the site.
Galesi Realty of New Jersey, which owns the Binghamton Plaza, is fighting the city's efforts to take possession of the property.
Property manager John Tokos said the mayor and most members of city council have not toured most of the plaza complex to get a first-hand look at what's inside its buildings. Tokos said although a portion of the plaza should be torn down, many of the existing structures are in good condition.
City council is expected to vote on a pair of measures related to the eminent domain process at its Wednesday evening meeting.
VIDEO: Mayor Kraham discussed the cleanup effort needed at the Binghamton Plaza site on West State Street.
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