Auto Repair Shop Faces Demolition for Contaminated Facility

April 3, 2024
Following tests conducted by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the shop was deemed to be contaminated from decades of automotive work.

An auto shop in Rome, New York, faces demolition from the city due to a contaminated facility, reports the Rome Sentinel.

Mike Jr’s Auto Repair has been in operation at 1030 E. Dominick St. for over 17 years. Before current owner Michael Burth Jr. began leasing the property from the city nearly two decades ago, the facility also housed another auto shop. 

Following tests conducted on the site by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in 2018, it was deemed to be contaminated from decades of automotive work and the property would need to be demolished for cleanup efforts to take place.

Three years later in November 2021, the city was given a grant from DEC for around $1.1 million to fund the cleanup project. The grant needed to be used within the next two years, prompting the local government to move quickly.

A year later, Burth was given a 120-day notice to leave the property for cleanup efforts to commence, but he refused, arguing that he was told by DEC that he would not be required to leave.

In recent weeks, a meeting was then held between city staff, Burth, DEC representatives, and First Ward Councilor John Sparace to discuss solutions to the problem. Unfortunately, the only alternative to demolishing the building is to leave it standing and contaminated. To clean up the building without demolition would cost the city far more, pushing the burden onto taxpayers.

Kimberly Rogers, chief of staff to Rome Mayor Jeffrey M. Lanigan and former Third Ward Councilor, explained that there was not enough time left to request a modification to the terms of the cleanup and receive a response, though First Ward Councilor Sparace said that after a cleanup is conducted later this year, Burth should be given the first chance at purchasing the property from the city.

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