FULTON, NY – The demolition of the former Nestles site in Fulton is being seen by the public again as work continues on the front side of the building lining State Route 481.
The demolition of the 24-acre site has been ongoing although it has not always been visible for the general public to see as the buildings in the back of the site required work first to get to buildings they connect to in the front, facing the main road with the most visibility.
Currently, Infinity Enterprises is demolishing the most visible portion of the site to have the property ready for the incoming supermarket chain, Aldi. Infinity Enterprises was awarded the demolition contract, offering to complete the work for no charge to the city but instead just the sole rights to all salvageable materials on the site.
In a contract with Aldi, the city has until July 1 to have the corner of the property on South Fourth Street and Fay Street build ready.
This means, the remainder of the former Nestles buildings in this area need to come down, the demolished materials need to be removed from this area of the site, and crushed brick will be laid in this spot to return the area to ground level.
Currently the area is four to six foot below ground level. Recently, the Common Council approved the purchase of up to $300,000 worth of crushed bricks bought from Mark Lindsley of Infinity Enterprises to restore the area to ground level after crushing the bricks on site with his own equipment.
Lindsley said the crusher would only run Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. periodically throughout the summer, not consistently, but had the capability to crush up to 500 tons of bricks in one hour.
Realistically, he said, they would likely crush up to 200 tons in one hour.
Neighbors brought forth concerns regarding dust being created as the bricks are crushed. Lindsley confirmed that the crusher has it’s own irrigation system that would water down the material and avoid as much dust as possible.
Similar concern has been addressed for the demolition overall, in fear that a lot of dust would be circulating in the area.
However, Mayor Ronald Woodward Sr. and Lindsley both confirmed that the proper steps are being followed in all aspects of the project, including materials being watered down as the demolition progresses.
One neighbor noted, if the noise stays within EPA limits, then it can’t be any louder than when Nestles was in business.
As a whole, the group of neighbors agreed that they don’t mind the noise, as long as they know about it ahead of time and what is happening.
The neighbors were thanked by the Common Council for their patience over the years and especially recently, and despite some skeptical response due to failed past attempts at demolition, the neighbors were ready to see some action at the site.
The progress leading to the current work has been anything but smooth, according to Mayor Woodward.
Each building has required asbestos removal before demolition can occur, that is at least three or four floors of asbestos removal in each building.
Infinity has been completing the asbestos removal as necessary through each building before they are able to be taken down.
“For whatever the reason, somebody, all through the time we’ve been trying to take that down… somebody has been calling the government agency that handles asbestos about once every week. They show up, they’ve had anonymous calls somethings not being done right,” Mayor Woodward said to the group of area neighbors. “Every time they go, it stops the project for a while.”
According to law however, the asbestos remover can not pay for air monitoring, he explained. For this reason, the city is paying for the air monitoring and Woodward claims each interruption delays the process and costs taxpayers money as the air monitoring continues to get paid hourly even when progress is interrupted.
Despite the delays, Infinity moves forward with their progress and are again being seen completing demolition to the front side of the site, visible by members of the general public or those driving by.
It was necessary to remove asbestos and start demolition for the buildings in the back of the site as to be able to access the buildings in the front and have space to knock the buildings down without pushing them into the road.
The focus currently remains on the portion of the site that is guaranteed to Aldi before continuing with the rest of the 24-acre site.
“All I’ve got to say is, thank God for Mark Lindsley. The other bid we got in was for $3.2 million, and we didn’t have it. So without him, we would’ve seen it just sit there,” said First Ward councilman, Thomas Kenyon.
The mayor and Common Council remain confident that the work will be completed in a timely manner to keep in coordination with the contract with Aldi, who the mayor said would like to have their store open by Christmas of this year.
“Here’s the whole thing, seeing is believing,” said Mayor Woodward, with hopes that being able to see more of the process, it will start to resonate with city residents that the work is being done.
“There’s no good deed that goes unpunished. For me being here as mayor at 66 years old, I’ve had health issues. My wife says, ‘why are you doing this?’ Because I care about Fulton. I don’t believe some of the nonsense I hear. If you want to make it better, do something about it. Roll up your sleeves and do something. We’re doing something. It may not be going as fast as some people want, but we’re making headway,” said Mayor Woodward.