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Would You Want to Live Next to This Building? Sen Schumer Tries to Help Camillus get it Cleaned Up

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Scott Willis/WAER News
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An abandoned and run-down Verizon building that looms over Green Street in Camillus may have finally met its match. Senator Chuck Schumer joined Camillus Mayor Patricia Butler and residents in seeking to clean up or tear down what they deem an unkempt eye sore. 

Neighborhood residents have been calling and sending e-mails and letters to Verizon for over a decade to no avail, until Schumer stepped in.

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Credit Scott Willis/WAER News
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Senator Chuck Schumer stands beside Camillus Mayor Patricia Butler to try and pressure Verizon into working with the village to either clean up or tear down the building,

  “The mayor and they contacted me and I am pledging to them, I will do everything I can to get Verizon to clean up this site, take down this building and put something nice up.”

The building is over 60 years old and has been abandoned for the past 20. It reportedly has a broken foundation, rotten wood, an unstable roof, and it houses animals. Schumer says he takes special interest in helping local communities.

“And so I am here and I am asking Verizon to be a good neighbor.  First, to get in touch with the mayor, to get in touch with me, to get in touch with the community residents so they can hear out the complaint.”

Schumer quoted Robert Frost who said, “Good fences make good neighbors.” He would say Verizon has not been a good neighbor; they are acting like the “big and mighty” corporation immune to community involvement. Mayor Butler says the town has seen enough neglect and disrespect.

“We take pride in our property and would like for Verizon to do the same.”   

 At least three people have gone to Verizon in the past looking to buy the property, but it always falls through on the Verizon side. Butler worries the surrounding property value will decrease because of the dilapidated building. Schumer wants Verizon and Camillus to work it out.

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Credit Scott Willis/WAER News
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Schumer says the community should decide what happens with the long vacant property.

  “Sit down with the community: decide what they want to do.  One obvious use is for them to take the building down, sell the property, and let someone build another home.  But if the community has other ideas, I’ll work with them.  Whatever they want.”

Verizon has not answered any call to action, but Schumer says they are definitely listening, because the grass was mowed just before Monday’s press conference. Whatever happens, it’s sure that this issue will be solved quicker, if at all, because of the extra push Schumer is giving. 

Chris Bolt, Ed.D. has proudly been covering the Central New York community and mentoring students for more than 30 years. His career in public media started as a student volunteer, then as a reporter/producer. He has been the news director for WAER since 1995. Dedicated to keeping local news coverage alive, Chris also has a passion for education, having trained, mentored and provided a platform for growth to more than a thousand students. Career highlights include having work appear on NPR, CBS, ABC and other news networks, winning numerous local and state journalism awards.
Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at srwillis@syr.edu.