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Onondaga County starts work to redevelop former Roth Steel site in Syracuse's Inner Harbor

Ellen Abbott
The former Roth Steel site in Syracuse will be redeveloped into part of Onondaga County's Loop the Lake trail, as well as for private development

Clean up of a piece of blighted property in Syracuse’s Inner Harbor should clear the way for more development in a neighborhood that’s seen a lot of growth recently. 

For years, the high-profile plot of land along Onondaga Lake owned by Roth Steel was defined by overgrown vegetation and junked cars. But after the Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency bought the parcel three years ago, work began to clean it up. Dozens of drums of liquid waste were removed, along with 2,500 tons of the shattered bits of junk cars. 

OCIDA Chair Pat Hogan said this week demolition begins on eight buildings still left on the property tucked in an area that he said is turning around.

"I mean people are starting to realize this is an area that’s eminently suitable for small businesses, and eminently suitable as a recreation area," said Hogan.

The part of the property next to the lake will become a new leg of Onondaga County’s Loop the Lake Trail. The rest, which amounts to between 10 and 15 acres, will be able to go on the market for private development, according to county legislature chairman Ryan McMahon.

"It’s attractive property. You have Destiny USA right here, the Inner Harbor, you have Harbor West neighborhood," said McMahon. "What [Syracuse] Mayor [Ben] Walsh and his team are doing over here is tremendous. I’m really excited about the potential.”

County officials say there still could be more remedial action on the site if any signs of PCB’s turn up.