The public finally got a chance to weigh in on the fate of the former Erie Coke Corporation property along East Avenue.
Monday night, local leaders and longtime neighborhood residents weighed in on its future.
It’s a site some insist has potentially impacted the health of thousands of Erie residents.
Two organizations are seeking the public’s approval to condemn the property where the former Erie Coke Corporation lies vacant.
“Erie Coke has left a legacy of industrial destruction in our community and right now, our community has an opportunity and a responsibility to figure out how we move forward,” said Kate Philips, chair of the Erie County Redevelopment Authority.
Philips said she knows Erie Coke can’t be depended on to help with the situation, so a historic partnership between the redevelopment authority and port authority will spearhead efforts.
It’s a plan designed keep local control of the property so the people of Erie can decide the best direction to head.
Everyone in attendance, from longtime residents to local leaders agreed that the property should be considered for condemnation and that remediation should begin.
“My wife have been there close to 30-plus years so I have a lot of concern and questions,” said one concerned resident who lives near Erie Coke, “What are the environmental effects from the past that may affect my wife, my daughter and other particularly elderly people that still live around in that area?”
“When I lived there, my windows, when they were open, had a lot of soot on them, which carried into the house and the floors were always dirty,” said Kathy Schaff, a resident who lived close to the Erie Coke site.
Schaaf recalls the industrial mess left over when she would spend time outside doing yard work.
“My hands and my arms would just be full of black soot when I came in. Always had to take everything off and get clean. Our cars had soot on them,” Schaaf added.
The property’s next steps? A vote to decide on condemning the property.
“Our focus right now is moving forward with cleaning up the site. There’s going to be plenty of time to talk about what’s going to happen with the site in the future, but our focus right now is getting control of the site so we can start the cleanup,” said David Uhlig, chair of the Port Authority Planning of Facilities Management committee.
If you were unable to attend but would still like to provide input, the Port Authority is taking submissions on their website and at their headquarters on Holland Street.