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Former Bossert site removed from Superfund list; ready for city to market

By By JOLEEN FERRIS

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Local and state leaders gathered at the former Bossert site in Utica to hear Mayor David Roefaro say the words his predecessors have waited more than two decades to hear.

"This property has been de-listed," he said. "Now what that means is that it has been taken right off of the registry as though it's never been contaminated. So this a very marketable site now."

Bossert ceased manufacturing operations in 1985. The city took over the site one year later. Two years later, in 1987, the Bossert site went on the Superfund list of severely contaminated properties.

"This was a superfund site. These are above and beyond brownfield; this is brownfield plus, much worse than brownfield, much more dangerous," said Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis.

City leaders thought they were done decontaminating and remediating the Bossert site in 2002. They were wrong.

"So we knew what was above ground but we had no idea what was below the ground until we actually started to take the site apart," said Grannis.

At a news conference Tuesday at the Bossert site, Utica Mayor David Roefaro triumphantly waved a letter the D.E.C. had written, announcing that the Bossert site had been removed from the Superfund list. With that hurdle cleared, Roefaro is confident that the site, which borders the North-South Arterial and railroad tracks, will be a developer's dream.

The mayor says the site's former contamination definitely scared away businesses.

"Yes in fact we lost a couple of deals because of that," Roefaro said. "We couldn't produce the letters that we needed because people would not take a chance on buying a piece of property that was contaminated."

Mayor Roefaro said that retail and light manufacturing business have expressed interest in the former Bossert property, but wouldn't name a deadline by which he'd like to have a business committed to the site.

Roefaro says the city will sell the property, most likely for between $500,000 and $700,000.

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