Demolition continues at the former Union Tools site in the village of Frankfort, but a potential buyer hopes work will be completed sooner than anticipated.
Mayor Frank Moracco said during a telephone interview on Wednesday demolition started with a fire that destroyed some of the buildings at the site in August. He said some of the work has become more visible as the demolition has moved toward the site’s border with Acme Road.
Moracco said the timeline for demolition depends on the weather.
“If it’s a mild winter, it could be demolished by the end of the calendar year,” he said.
Moracco said the state Department of Environmental Conservation will then go to the site to test for contamination, which usually takes a few months.
“I was just talking to the consultants, and if everything goes smooth with the approval of the DEC, it could be possibly be ground level in August 2013,” he said.
The Aug. 1 fire destroyed or damaged 12 of the 35 buildings on the former Union Tools site. The fire was ruled accidental, caused by a spark from ongoing work to prepare the site for demolition.
The site is currently owned by Ames True Temper, and the company is looking to have it developed for commercial use. The site had been used for industrial purposes for over 100 years. Originally called the Union Fork and Hoe, the site was used for railroad operations, and then it became a manufacturing site for hand tools, such as hoes, shovels and forks. In 2006, when it was called Union Tools, the site was acquired by Ames True Temper and manufacturing was discontinued.
Part of the road was blocked off to traffic on Wednesday, which Moracco said was for safety since demolition is currently so close to the road. Two excavators worked to pile the debris that was caused when part of the walls of the structure were blown out. One excavator tore at part of the structure near the road, pulling off pieces of metal that were part of the building.
Moracco, noting the work is currently being down in the town, said he had not heard of any complaints from residents.
The slow-moving cleanup process at the site, however, has village officials concerned over whether an investor will bring in three businesses.
“They’re looking at the possibility of bringing a hotel convention center, a retail plaza and a manufacturing facility for electric cars,” said Moracco.
He said the potential buyer would like the site to be ready by May 2013.
“We’re trying to brainstorm with Herkimer County (Industrial Development Agency) and come up with a secondary plan to allow this opportunity for growth not only in our community, but in Herkimer County,” said Moracco.
Page 2 of 2 - Contributing: GateHouse News Service