Spring may mark renewal of site

JOHNSTOWN – City officials on Monday said the state Department of Environmental Conservation will allow redevelopment at the former Karg Bros. tannery site starting next spring.

“DEC has cleared us and it’s good to go,” Mayor Sarah Slingerland told the Common Council at City Hall.

During a report on the ongoing cleanup of the six-acre North Perry Street site, city officials noted any new redevelopment at the site would be a successful end to a 15-year project involving the city.

Slingerland said the clean up of the Karg Bros. site has been through “sheer persistence” on the part of the city, including utilization of the Brownfields program.

“It’s been through several [city] administrations,” said 2nd Ward Councilman Chris Foss. “It’s been a long time coming.”

Foss said he remembers being on the council in 1996 – the year after Karg Bros. shut down. He said the facility was torn down in 1999.

Remediation of the former Karg Bros. tannery site began in September, using donated Fulton County landfill soil and it continues this week.

DEC is working with the city to clean up remaining pollutants and remediate the former tannery site by spring.

The city is receiving help from the Fulton County Department of Solid Waste, which is bringing in 17,000 cubic yards of dirt for the site, so it can be redeveloped.

The tannery, encompassing a widespread area east of Crescendoe Road, East Canal Street and East Fulton Street, was shut down in the mid-1990s, and the buildings were razed by 2000. The city has been working with consultant Arcadis-US of Clifton Park. DEC has indicated the state wants to complete the Karg site work and be able to issue a “No Further Action Record of Decision” report to the city by March.

Slingerland said once the fill is completely distributed at the site, the Department of Public Works’ part of the project is completed. She said the Karg site will then be “ready for things to be located there.”

City Engineer Chandra Cotter said the zoning would have to be changed. She said the city received state approval for hydroseeding – a planting process that uses a slurry of seed and mulch. The city will be reimbursed by DEC in March, she said.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at