Cortland County IDA completes Phase I of APEX site cleanup

Contractors clean up construction and demolition debris at the former APEX manufacturing site in Cortland. Phase I of the project was completed earlier this week. (Photo via the Cortland County BDC/IDA).

The Cortland County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) recently completed the Phase I cleanup of the former APEX manufacturing site in the city of Cortland, according to a release from the Cortland County Business Development Corporation/IDA.

The first phase of clearing out construction and demolition debris took 17 days, the release states. 

The IDA acquired the former manufacturing site back in July. It began to coordinate a cleanup after an undisclosed company tore down and scrapped parts of the old APEX building.

“We have long-term hopes for that location, but first it was important to take care of the eyesore this community inherited,” said Garry VanGorder, executive director of the Cortland County BDC. “We got that done (on Wednesday).”

The IDA hired certified abatement contractors, asbestos project monitors and air sampling experts for the work in case “residual asbestos containing materials (ACMs) were buried in the mountainous debris piles,” the release notes.

More than 4,500 tons of material was hauled away to the Cortland County landfill, but only one load of ACMs was found.

“We are very fortunate in that regard because discovery of significant asbestos there could have had a significant economic impact,” VanGorder said.

The IDA plans to spend more than $300,000 to fund the site project. Funds for the project will come from “project fees it charges developers seeking tax benefits in return for capital investment in the community,” the release states. The release also notes that costs will have no impact on local taxpayers.

Cortland mayor and city officials have offered “significant support” for the project. The city helped to expedit a deal to “extinguish a tax lien on the property to clear a path for the IDA’s purchase,” the release notes.

The city has also contributed water to the project for the contractor’s work to “wet the materials as it was loaded for removal to the landfill,” the release states.

The IDA’s next phase of the project will involve engineers performing an environmental analysis of soils and other compounds at the site. The next steps for the site’s redevelopment will depend on those findings.