Ithaca Builds

Mapping, photos and information for Ithaca construction and development projects

Markles Flats Site Photos

November 11, 2013 // by Jason Henderson

I was in the area so I took a few photos of this site. Most of the fencing has been installed along the edges, along with the section for the baseball diamond and asphalt basketball court. Poured and tamped gravel form the pathways along with sections of concrete walkways, benches are in place, and some shrubs and saplings have been sunk in the soil. The parking lot was finished a little while back, and all the exposed soil has straw spread over it.

For the better part of the past two years, this site was remediated along with sections of adjacent roadway due to coal tar contamination from the former New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG) operations that processed coal tar to fuel gas (coal tar is carcinogenic due to the chemicals generally found in high concentrations). There was an enormous tent over the site, lots of trucks, and street closures. The Ithaca City School District (ICSD) owns the block, and sought plans to demolish the former industrial Markles Flats building back in late 2009, but lost that initial decision in a ruling before the Ithaca Landmarks Preservation Commission (ILPC). Two subsequent rulings (an appeal before the Tompkins County Court, then the State Supreme Court Appellate Division) allowed the demolotion to move forward due to the conclusion that the ILPC could not determine what the school district could do with its property. There was considerable local discussion on the disagreement (one, two, and three). I never took a photo of the building myself, but here’s an image link of the former building.

The old remedial plan PDF from the NYSDEC is embedded below, along with a shot of the groundwater results- the plan presents some maps towards the end showing where contamination had to be removed or neutralized.