Assemblyman Robin Schimminger and Senator Mary Lou Rath today announced that they have secured $65,000 in special state funding that will be directed toward several pre-demolition projects on the Spaulding Fibre site.
"We are pleased that we able to secure these funds to move the Spaulding project forward," Rath and Schimminger said. "This grant is targeted to cover the cost of preparing demolition specifications, environmental testing, and related engineering and site management work, which are steps that must be taken before demolition can begin.
"Demolishing the Spaulding plant, which covers 27 acres of the 47-acre property, is not a simple task," Schimminger noted. "These now dilapidated industrial buildings, which date back to the early 1900s, represent a wide assortment of construction techniques and have numerous problems including collapsed ceilings and floors and flooded basement areas. Demolition plans will have to take into account all of these factors, as well as worker safety."
"In addition to pre-demolition work, the grant includes money for testing Spaulding’s parking lot across Wheeler Street and a back parcel on Hinds Street," Rath noted. "While there is no record of contamination in these areas, testing needs to be done to confirm this supposition."
Remediation and redevelopment of the Spaulding site has been delayed for years while the property was part of its parent company’s bankruptcy proceedings. Once the property was formally abandoned by Spaulding Composits with the permission of the bankruptcy court in early 2004, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) became the lead agency in cleaning up hazardous materials on the property. To date, over $2.3 million in state Superfund monies have been spent on remediating the Spaulding site.
In addition to the state Superfund clean-up, there is a pending state grant application for an additional $3.6 million in state brownfield funds to further remediate the property.
"The remediation and redevelopment of the Spaulding site, which is part of the Tonawanda Empire Zone, is an important priority and we are pleased that we were able to provide this special funding to move this project to the next step," Rath and Schimminger said. "While New York State continues its ongoing remediation efforts at the Spaulding site, we will work diligently with our partners – the City of Tonawanda, Erie County and the Erie County Industrial Development Agency – to demolish these unsafe structures and rehabilitate the Spaulding site for future business development."