State to take over most Rome Cable remediation costs, officials say

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The state Department of Environmental Conservation plans to pay for remediating the former Rome Cable site’s remaining contamination, saving the city money from a separate state grant that can go toward preparing the land for new industrial use.

Mayor Jacqueline M. Izzo shared the news Friday with the Oneida County Industrial Development agency board. The IDA is the legal owner of the site and had to sign-off on changes in plans for bringing the 40 acre site back to use.

A separate part of the Rome Cable site is destined for a new home for Rome’s own Cold Point Corporation.

The DEC told the city last week that it would pay for demolition and remediation on the remainder of the site with state money dedicated to cleaning up old industrial sites, sometimes referred to as the state Superfund. The DEC estimates it will cost $14 million, according to Izzo.

The city in turn can apply a $1 million Restore NY grant it got last year toward further site preparation to create a small industrial park suitable for up to four buildings of 50,000 square feet on the rest of the site, which is at Henry and Jay streets around the Rome Cable tower.

“This is a real win-win for everybody,” Izzo told IDA board members meeting in Rome. “So what we’re doing here now is tidying up all of the loose ends so that the DEC can take control of that and move along with the demo and  remediation.”

According to the DEC, the Rome Cable facility has been used for the manufacturing and spinning of wire since the 1920s. Contamination resulted from the use of chlorinated solvents used to clean machines and wire, petroleum used to heat the on-site furnaces and as lubricants, and asbestos-containing material used as pipe insulation. Several small petroleum spills have been documented.

Work on remediation has been going for a good decade and a half, Izzo noted.

The DEC is on pace to begin work in June, Izzo said, and intends to conduct demolition on the site, which it normally doesn’t do but deems necessary in this case, she added.

In the end, about 20 acres is expected to be available, she said. Site preparation after  the demolition and remediation is done will likely amount to preparing infrastructure for new use.

“We’ll have to see how they leave it to us then from there we’ll begin to decide if we need to put roads in there for truck traffic, maybe utilities,” Izzo said later Friday. “Those types of things would be involved in site preparation as we go forward.”

Cold Point Corp., currently located on Success Drive in west Rome’s industrial park, will relocate to a portion of the former Rome Cable complex that has been remediated. Under assistance from the state’s downtown revitalization initiative, the site will receive $900,000 toward the construction of a 50,000-square foot advanced manufacturing facility. The company makes heat pumps, air conditioners and cooling equipment. On Friday, the IDA approved a legal subdivision of the site into separate parcels to facilitate the plans. 

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