SCHUMER URGES GAS COMPANIES LIKE SUNOCO TO IMMEDIATELY ADDRESS ZOMBIE GAS STATIONS SCATTERED ALL OVER BUFFALO; SENATOR SAYS SITES ARE AN EYESORE & DAMAGE ERIE COUNTY PROPERTY VALUES
Station Sites Have Been Eyesores In Lackawanna, Amherst, Tonawanda, The City Of Buffalo, And All Around WNY; Schumer Will Demand Companies Cooperate With Local Officials, & Agree To Redevelopment
Schumer Will Call On Owners Of Abandoned Gas Station Sites To Work With WNY Municipalities To Develop Long-Term Redevelopment Plans,
Schumer To Gas Station Site Owners: Work Will Local Officials To Pump In Long-Awaited Development
Standing at the “zombie” Sunoco gas station site in Lackawanna, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer today called on Sunoco and United Refining, the owners of several abandoned gas station sites, to immediately cooperate with local municipalities to immediately develop a long-term plan for the stations’ redevelopment. The Senator said these sites, which are often overgrown and surrounded by ugly cement barricades, are a hindrance to development, and are aesthetically inappropriate for the surrounding communities. Schumer said these station sites, located in prime areas for redevelopment, could help propel future economic growth, if their potential could be maximized. As a result, Schumer is stepping in to urge the leadership of both Sunoco and United Refining to step up and work with the community to redevelop the “zombie gas stations.” Schumer said that the abandoned gas stations are not only eyesores, but also prevent the city from utilizing valuable property for economic development and tax revenue.
“These zombie gas stations are an eyesore. They’re unwelcoming, they’re ugly, and they’re a drain on the Buffalo economy,” said Senator Schumer. “Visitors and residents should not be surrounded by run-down lots, decaying buildings, and crumbling concrete barricades. So, I am urging the owners of these properties to cooperate with the affected municipalities and develop a plan to pump in long-awaited development.”
In Lackawanna, the former Mobil and Sunoco station at the Ridge Road intersection represents a prime target for redevelopment. In its current state, the site adds little to the neighborhood in terms of tax revenue or aesthetics, and even affects other local businesses, such as Winfield’s Pub, which is just down the street.
Schumer was joined by Lackawanna Mayor Geoffrey Szymanski, Jennifer Nahrebski, President of the Lackawanna Chamber of Commerce, local elected officials, and members of the local business community. Both Szymanski and Kulpa have proposed solutions for these station sites and are eager to get the ball rolling on future development.
“Lackawanna residents and visitors to our city should not have to look at run down properties like this. I appreciate Senator Schumer stepping in to support our city and local businesses, and to address this problem,” said Geoffrey Szymanski, Mayor of Lackawanna.
Schumer highlighted that vacant gas stations not only shutter their doors, but also occupy valuable space for redevelopment. These gas stations are situated on busy and easily accessible streets, close to other popular attractions, such as the Botanical Gardens and Our Lady of Victory Basilica – each about a mile away. Schumer said the vacant properties are a blemish on the whole thoroughfare and discourage other businesses from locating nearby. Schumer noted that one such gas station in Amherst is located right at the entrance to the neighborhood, welcoming guests with a desolate slab of concrete instead of a thriving business or a lush park. The Buffalo News recently highlighted several of these sites, which “greet” visitors across Western New York, from Amherst to Tonawanda, to Lackawanna.
In a similar push in 2013, Schumer successfully urged Sunoco to work with officials in the City of Syracuse to address ongoing code violations at two abandoned gas stations in Onondaga County. Sunoco subsequently sold the property for redevelopment. Schumer said he will work to ensure a similar outcome at the former Sunoco station in Lackawanna, as well as other sites across Western New York.
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