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Run-down Roosevelt Elementary faces potential demolition

By JOLEEN FERRIS

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Carleen Meyers attended Roosevelt Elementary School in Utica.  Her parents still live in the family homestead nearby. 

She can't help but feel a little sadness as she walks her son's bulldog, 'Jeffrey', by the abandoned, run-down building.

"It's terrible what's become of it. It's falling down and it has all kinds of animals living in it," said Meyers.

Other neighbors say that the roof finally gave way last month and collapsed even further this week.

On Wednesday afternoon, just a few blocks from the 64,000 square-foot eyesore that's been largely vacant for 23 years, Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri and other city leaders and workers conducted a weekly quality of life sweep near Brinckerhoff and Eagle, cleaning up the streets and checking properties for codes violations.

The mayor says he has not been ignoring the dangerous eyesore hovering menacingly just a few blocks away.

"We have met with DEC, with DOL, our engineering firms and we're looking at abating that relatively within a period of time which we get a variance from DEC," said Mayor Palmieri.
    
Abatement means demolition, as all of the developers who toyed with the idea of rehabilitating the building found that it was simply too expensive. The problem is, demolition isn't going to be cheap, either.

"It's a huge building and again, it's gotta go over the scales at the landfills and if it's got asbestos it's got mold it's got some regulations that are quite frankly are very costly.... we have estimates up to $2.3-$3 million so it's coming up with the money, it's finding out how to do this," said Palmieri.

The mayor plans a news conference in the coming weeks to announce specific plans for demolishing the former Roosevelt School and paying for the demolition.

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