An Allen Street industrial property in danger of collapsing is also under investigation by the State Department of Environmental Conservation and Environmental Protection Agency for contamination.
The property is located at 1061 Allen Street is owned by Allen Street Development LLC whose principal owners are Richard Rusiniak and his wife of Cheektowaga. The building used to be part of the former Crawford Furniture’s complex.
Jamestown Director of Development Crystal Surdyk said the City has cited the property numerous times in Housing Court, with Friday, January 21 being the most recent appearance. Mr. Rusiniak, nor any associates, appeared at Friday’s hearing.
Surdyk said the City is trying to get Mr. Rusiniak to secure the property and make it safe, “We have been working with the EPA and now the DEC on really assessing the site and determining what and where the potential hazards are. There are known hazards. It’s really just a matter of getting that full assessment of where all that is located. The building itself, a large portion of it, is collapsing and so there is serious concern there.”
Surdyk said they have serious concerns that if the building collapsed, anyone inside could be injured, “We also have a very serious concern about fire. It is attractive because you can enter the premises and there’s a lot going on in there. There have been some known thefts. So it’s a potential fire hazard, so it’s just an attractive nuisance.”
Surdyk added the City would like to see a controlled demolition of the back portion of the structure. She said the brick structure closer to Allen Street is in good shape and could be redeveloped.
She said with the property being located in a Brownfield Opportunity Area and its history of being part of furniture manufacturing, she contacted the EPA for guidance, “That led them to decide that they needed to take a closer look at it. The ended up coming down and doing their own independent investigation. They actually are in town right now [Friday] doing some additional investigation. We met with them yesterday and the DEC on site. The DEC has a history with this property owner. There are a number of other properties they have been working with him on to get cleaned up.”
Surdyk added the EPA is also doing an assessment and testing with all agencies collaborating to ensure all hazards are mitigated. She said the DEC and EPA are each pursuing independent actions against the property owners.
In Housing Court, Judge George Panebianco adjourned the case until Friday, February 4 in hopes that the property owners would appear and also ordered that Mr. Rusiniak should continue clean-up of the junk and debris on the site.