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Onondaga County agency will purchase former scrap yard and polluted property along Onondaga Lake

Tom Magnarelli
The Roth Steel scrapyard in Syracuse.

The Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency has agreed to purchase a site along Onondaga Lake that has been contaminated by industrial pollution for years. County officials are hoping the site can be cleaned and used for development.

The Canadian-based company, American Iron and Metal, which owns Roth Steel, a former scrap yard along Onondaga Lake, came to a settlement so the county could purchase the property. American Iron and Metal wanted to reopen the "pick and pull" junk yard but the county said they had the option to use eminent domain to take over the property.  

Ryan McMahon, the chairman of the county legislature said the county’s industrial development agency will pay $787,500 for the site using their own fees so no taxpayer dollars are spent.

“It’s really a game changer if you look at what we’re doing around the lake," McMahon said. "We want to connect the loop lake trail further to the Inner Harbor and to the Creekwalk. To do that, the Roth Steel site may be a perfect fit. But more importantly, we’re taking a site that we know was polluting the lake and we’re changing the zoning.”

McMahon said developers can take advantage of New York state’s brownfieldpProgram which provides tax incentives to the private sector for cleaning up contaminated areas.