In 2015, Broome County acquired an abandoned lot, the Brandywine Corridor, on the North Side of Binghamton because of tax foreclosure. Ever since, the property has sat blighted and vacant.
Now, the lot is at the center of a battle between local politicians. Broome County Executive Jason Garnar recently proposed a plan to sell the site, but the sale was blocked by the Broome County Legislature in a 10-4 vote Thursday evening, leaving the future of the Brandywine Corridor uncertain.
Garnar announced the county’s proposition to sell the property and adjacent lots on Aug. 8 but was met with opposition from city of Binghamton Mayor Rich David.
“County Executive Garnar’s plan is short-sighted and will make marketing and developing the overall area much more difficult by taking yet another parcel out of public control and increasing the number of parcels under private ownership,” David said in a statement. “The County Executive’s plan would make that task much more difficult and would hinder future economic development opportunities.”
Instead, David suggested the county retain site control and work with the city to develop a plan.
In response to the legislature’s vote, Garnar said in a statement that he is frustrated with the lack of action.
“I’m absolutely fed up with the legislature that once again, decided to play political games instead of taking action,” Garnar said. “This hellhole is unsafe, a playground for criminals and residents shouldn’t have to look at it another damn day.”
The proposed sale included the former Phillips Foundry building at 80 Frederick St.; 39, 41 and 43 Montgomery St.; and 52 and 60 Whitney Ave. According to Garnar, the county was planning on selling the lot for $5,000 to LCP Group Inc., a demolition company located in Vestal.
The building has been used for multiple purposes over the years and was once a manufacturing site for aircraft parts during World War II. According to Broome County’s Department of Planning and Economic Development 2017 Annual Report, the site has environmental issues including leaking containers of unknown materials and staining, indicating past spills.
Mary Kaminsky, Broome County legislator for District 14, voted to approve the sale of the property and wrote in an email that she is disappointed about the result of the vote.
“We had a company who is experienced in taking down buildings with environmental issues and they were going to handle the entire cost of taking that building down and any of the environmental issues that arose,” Kaminsky wrote. “The fact that my Republican colleagues turn that down is ridiculous. I can’t begin to express my frustration this resolution did not pass.”