Those who have been in the Utica area for a while may have fond memories of the CharlesTown Mall.
“It was manufacturing. Then it happened, unfortunately, when all the manufacturing left the area. It was a mall. These are the Charlestown Mall outlets, which have been hugely successful for a while,” said Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri.
Over many years, Palmieri said the site had become derelict property. Then property taxes lagged.
“You had kids, homeless people, squatters in there, multiple fires, a very dangerous situation,” Palmieri said.
What do you want to know
- The CharlesTown shopping center at Utica in Frankfurt is being demolished by the Environmental Protection Agency
- A major fire in 2020 would have exacerbated air quality and structural integrity issues
- Utica mayor says site is private property, but he’s optimistic about the future
Nearly two years ago, a violent fire ravaged the site. This created a frightening situation for those around the building and first responders who had to turn it off and search the property for people inside.
From this problem, however, came an added urgency for change.
“It was a very dangerous situation,” Palmieri said. “I think everyone understands that you need to come together, and collectively we’ve had several meetings here at city hall in my boardroom with the state, with the EPA, with Frankfurt, and we’re looking at a totally different venue this afternoon.”
The EPA begins demolishing the site, decontaminating recyclable building materials, and disposing of asbestos and asbestos-containing debris.
Through this, the EPA monitors air quality through a Community Air Monitoring Plan.
Frankfurt’s supervisor said in a statement that the demolition was a welcome relief.
Palmieri said the property is seized and still privately owned.