CAMBRIA – Potential redevelopment of two parcels on the former Lockport Air Force Station property at the corner of Route 31 and Old Shawnee Road is edging toward reality with the demolition of a half-dozen abandoned, formerly asbestos-laden buildings.
The Niagara County Brownfield Development Corp. awarded the Cambria project $400,000 in federal funding in May 2011 to clean up the site and make it marketable.
The Niagara County Center for Economic Development, working with National Grid, procured a grant for $300,000 to help complete the work.
The project had earned a $250,000 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant in 2010, some of which was used on an environmental study.
Apollo Dismantling Services was awarded the contract to remove the contaminants; demolish the half-dozen abandoned buildings, which included an old gym, an administration building, a water tower, sheds, the rubble from an arson-damaged building and a sizable generator building; and restore the site. Work began in August and is expected to be completed next year, according to Christian W. Peck, Niagara County’s public information officer.
The site housed the former Lockport Air Force Station, serving as a radar control facility for the long-defunct Nike missile base. Cambria’s Housing Authority has owned the property since the late 1970s, after a proposal to build a state prison there was dropped.
Two separate parcels make up the site near the Cambria Commons, a senior housing project operated by the Belmont Corp., and the Unicorn Apartments. Twenty-eight single-family homes are also situated nearby.
“Work is essentially completed on the larger of the two parcels (8.9 acres), on the western edge of the property,” said Cambria Supervisor Wright H. Ellis.
“The other parcel (5.6 acres), which is more centrally located, contained an old generator building, and that has been demolished, but in testing the soil several feet down, they found petroleum contaminants underneath where the generator building stood. This will take additional work but will complete the work plan.”
“All buildings set for demolition have been demolished, and the soil remediation has to wait until spring,” Peck said.
He added that a building used as a former bomb shelter on the site “was secured, but we don’t anticipate its removal.”
Ellis added, “The goal, of course, in remediating a site is to get rid of any contaminants, then make it available for any further development, like small business or even some type of residential use. At one time, there had been interest in building patio homes there. Our long-term goal is to get this land back on the tax rolls.”
Peck said the town is the lead agency for the project and will determine who will market the site after it is remediated.
He added, “If the town seeks the assistance of the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency, it will be more than willing to help.”