Downtown’s Edge district sits between the city’s Central Business and Medical districts, serving as a buffer zone, of sorts.
But in recent years efforts have been underway to bring new development to the area, from scattered residential prospects to the High Cotton Brewing Co. But the neighborhood’s past as an automotive center complicates those efforts.
Tioga Environmental Consultants
has stepped in to help developers and businesses interested in the neighborhood’s buildings.
“Because of past use of the properties there have been conditions pop up,” said Larkin Myers, Vice President of the company and a civil engineer. “At one time that’s where all the auto sales happened. There were tons of gas stations and repair shops, parts stores and car painting. Anything associated with the car industry was there. … All of those things at one time had environmental hazards.”
Before 1972, gas tanks were underground. During the neighborhood’s heyday of the 1950s and ’60s there was unregulated activity that Myers said keeps popping up as concerns. Tioga will do historical investigations to understand the realities of a building’s previous uses. If necessary, soil and groundwater samples are taken to confirm suspected concerns.
So far, Myers said, all samples taken in the Edge district have come back clean. But if those levels do come back out of whack, it’s reported to the client and a recommendation made to submit to the state. If it’s a moderate concern the property owner and potential buyer decide who will take care of the issue. Any significant levels of contamination the state gets involved to remedy the situation.
Tioga offers a range of services as it relates to properties, providing site investigations so the property owner or a prospective buyer knows the reality of the building’s condition. And before demolition or renovation projects can start any possible hazards must be known, from mold to indoor air quality.
“Why Edge is so interesting is it had such a rich history,” said Maggie Strom, Founder and President of Tioga.