October 22, 2021

NYSEG to clean up riverbank in Homer near inn

Kevin Conlon/city editor

The village plans to level three buildings this year along the Tioughnioga River’s West Branch for a new linear park.

The Homer village board voted Tuesday night to rent the old Budget Inn property on South Main Street to NYSEG as the utility remediates the riverbank in a deal that could bring $2,000 a month to the village, which village leaders said they’d like to invest in the village’s linear park.

The deal, approved by voice vote, is because NYSEG will need access to the riverfront from the Budget Inn property where the linear park will be constructed in order to replace oil-damaged soil left by an oil plant, said Mayor Darren “Hal” McCabe. The remediation will involve blocking off half of the river.

Once completed, demolition of the former Budget Inn motel, the defunct auto repair shop at 215 S. Main St., and an empty building will begin in preparation for the park.

“For residents this summer, they’re going to see a lot of stuff down there,” Deputy Mayor Patrick Clune said. “We probably won’t have the park ready to go until at least 2022 because this year, NYSEG is doing remediation.”

Large portions of the Budget Inn motel site will be fenced off and residents will not have access to those parts of the river. In the meantime, two buildings the auto repair shop and an empty building — will be demolished.

But before demolition can start, the board is waiting to hear back from Ithaca ReUse Center, which may be interested in harvesting materials from the site.

“It would reduce the amount of stuff we would have to send to the landfill,” Clune said. Cortland ReUse was offered first dibs but did not have the resources or facilities to store the material.

The village board also discussed erecting a pavilion at the site of the Budget Inn and adding a paved parking lot between the motel site and the defunct auto shop property, previously owned by James Harder.

“I like the paving idea,” Clune said. “It’s easy to do snow removal and stripe parking spaces for people.”

“We need some sort of formalized agreement to use the property between the Budget Inn and the Harder property,” McCabe said. “It makes more sense to make it the parking lot for the park and the pavilion.

The board does not yet have a date set for demolition.