Work eyed at old tannery site

JOHNSTOWN – City officials this week inquired about possible future development projects for the old Karg Bros. tannery site, but that may not happen for another six months.

A report on the city-owned, former leather mill property off North Perry Street was given at the Common Council meeting Monday at City Hall.

Second Ward Councilwoman Kathi Iannotti reported the six-acre Karg’s site was hydroseeded. She said a section off East Canal Street still needs to be paved.

The red Karg’s tannery was once highly visible from North Perry Street and its property encompassed a widespread area east of Crescendoe Road, East Canal Street and East Fulton Street.

The Feuer Leather Group shut the tannery down in 1995, leaving the area. The city took over the property and the facility was torn down in 1999. Now, city officials are looking for a new, future redevelopment and reuse at the site. The city’s Comprehensive Plan approved in 2008 recommended a new Center City Park at the site.

The city has worked with consultant Arcadis-US of Clifton Park to clean up pollutants at the site. City Engineer Chandra Cotter and the Department of Public Works put in much time at the site. Soil was spread throughout the site during the winter and spring.

Fourth Ward Councilman Edwin Queeney III reminded the council of the “concept” of the city park discussed years ago within the Comprehensive Plan.

“I think it depends on what kind of manpower we have to maintain that area,” said First Ward Councilwoman Cindy Lakata.

Councilman-at-Large Christopher Swatt added, “It is the center of our city. We can’t just let it grow out.”

Cotter estimated the city can’t do anything with the Karg Bros. property for another six months because of more work to be done. She said the city Planning Board is also looking into ways to possibly modify the Comprehensive Plan.

If the city wants to sell the property, Cotter said the sale may involve environmental easements that will have to be addressed.