DEWITT, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Onondaga County has committed to NewsChannel 9 it will clean up garbage piling up in the parking lot around ShoppingTown Mall.

People who’ve noticed the piles while driving through the parking lot have emailed NewsChannel 9’s Your Stories team with their concerns. Among the mess are carpet remnants, carpet pads, pieces of lawnmowers and bags of garbage.

Unaware of the problem, NewsChannel 9 showed pictures of the mess to Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon. He said, “If that’s ours, that’s our responsibility to get it cleaned.”

McMahon warned fines and possible arrest to people caught dumping trash.

“You should never use anybody’s real estate to drop garbage or use any public right of ways,” McMahon said in an interview with NewsChannel 9. “People shouldn’t do things like that. That’s a dumb thing to do.”

With the mess outside, Onondaga County has been focused side. Ever since its owned the mall, its facilities department has worked to patch the leaking roof and keep the heat working through winter.

Any day, the county is expected to transfer ownership of the property to the group of developers chosen last summer.

When asked why the transfer has taken almost a year, McMahon said: “We’re not going to lock ourselves in to a contract with any developer until we know where things are going and things will actually get done… We think we made tremendous progress. We think that contract will be on my desk this week.”

Ryan Benz, one of the leaders behind the “District East” development released last July, says his team meets three-to-four times per week.

He said, “From a commitment perspective, we are extremely heavily financially invested in this project. We’re not going anywhere. We’re just going through this process.”

He said his redevelopment of the Penfield Building in Syracuse took 30 months, including drawings and financing. The ShoppingTown Mall project, he says, is seven times larger.

Slowing down the process is the refusal by the owners of both the former Sears and Macy’s stores to sell the outparcels to the developers. Once the primary property is sold to the developers, they plan to apply for eminent domain to get control of the entire site.

“We are optimistic that ultimately ownership will be consolidated,” Benz said. “Without that process, there will be no project.”