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Fire stalls plans to rebuild Camillus Cutlery plant

Families in Camillus were hoping for a brighter landscape by now. There were major renovation plans for the site of the former Camillus Cutlery, but a fire in February left part of the old plant in ruins before it could be demolished.
Camillus (WSYR-TV) -- Families in Camillus were hoping for a brighter landscape by now. There were major renovation plans for the site of the former Camillus Cutlery, but a fire in February left part of the old plant in ruins before it could be demolished.

Two and half months later, a field full of charred industrial debris still greets visitors and business owners on Main Street.

"The first thing a car sees driving up to our shop now is a terrible mess and depending on which way the wind is blowing, it also stinks,” explained Camillus Kayak Shop owner Kathy Kitt.

Just down the road from Kathy's shop, the owner of a local barbeque pit is hoping to set up his deck for outdoor dining soon.

"I would not want to be downwind from that. This has been going on a long time now since the fire and nothing has been done,” said Rickard Kirk, who owns Krabby Kirk’s BBQ and Saloon.

The former Camillus Cutlery site was comprised of two buildings. Before the fire, developer Tom Blair proposed apartments and a medical wellness center in the building that firefighters saved. Twisted metal and piles of waste line the creek where Blair envisions green space.

Blair said he's eager to move forward and find tenants, but, the insurance adjustors are still completing the claims assessments. The process is taking longer than expected and he expects to wait a few more weeks before they release the property for cleanup.

"It was a very big building and it was a big fire. So, it is obviously going to take a lot more time than just a small fire is going to take,” said Michael Affinito with Nick’s Pizzeria and Deli.

There is some sympathy from neighbors about delays. But, without progress soon, locals fear that millions of dollars in state grant money, earmarked for restorations, might be in jeopardy.

"I definitely think it is going to be beautiful when it gets finished. I just think it is taking a long time," Kitt stressed.
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