Use Stimulus Money To Stabilize Problem, Zombie Industrial Properties

We can’t argue with city officials’ aggressive stance regarding a property at 1061 Allen St.

The building is part of the former Crawford Furniture company. Parts of the building are on the verge of collapse, other parts need to be stabilized and, to make matters even worse, there are hazardous materials and chemicals on the site.

As we have written before, the city has far too many properties like this purchased by an owner with big ideas and limited cash flow. It would be a game-changing development for Jamestown if a private developer with deep pockets rolled into the city, purchased three or four of these derelict buildings and turned them into something productive. It hasn’t happened often over the past 50 years, so we shouldn’t hold our breath that it will happen now.

But the city could help itself by taking control of a few of the worst offenders, cleaning them up or demolishing the sites and readying the area for new development.

Crystal Surdyk, city development director, is doing interesting work on zombie properties in city neighborhoods. A similar focus on zombie industrial properties is needed — and the city’s federal stimulus funding is the best way to accomplish such work.

It’s not as if Jamestown doesn’t have a history with this type of work. The Industrial Renewal and Modernization Program cleaned up ssimilar sites in the 1980s and 1990s, but the program was limited by a lack of funding. Right now, funding isn’t an issue.

Zombie industrial buildings are a safety and environmental risk. They are also a depressing reminder of the city’s decaying industrial past. This is the perfect time to renew our efforts to give some longstanding eyesores a facelift.


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