In Ulster County, the former IBM campus, also known as TechCity, has long been a symbol of decay and economic decline. But there’s a new plan in place to clean up the site and create jobs.

Harold Harrison has lived in the neighborhood for 90 years.

“I’ve seen an airport here, I’ve seen farms, I’ve seen IBM here,” said Harrison. He even worked on the site for a telephone company.

After IBM left – he said the area fell into decline.

“It was a shame that things changed, but we need something to build things back up,” said Harrison.

A new plan in place could bring economic growth to the area again. Sen. Chuck Schumer on Friday gathered with local officials and business leaders to announce a plan to clean up the site and create up to 500 new jobs.

What You Need To Know

  • Sen. Chuck Schumer gathered with local officials and business leaders to announce a plain to clean up and create up to 500 new jobs

  • The EPA and IPark87 a developer for the site will begin removing Asbestos from the site starting next week

  • One local restaurant manager says she hopes the revitalization of the site will bring more commerce to the area

“These mountains of asbestos are gonna be gone next time were here,” said Schumer.

The county says a “history of failures” and “improper demolition of asbestos-containing materials” led to a hazardous situation with carcinogens, including asbestos littering the area.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and iPark 87, a developer for the site, will begin removing the asbestos starting next week.

“There’s just been so many excuses and so many reasons to not do it here, what we’re doing today,” said Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan.

Schumer also announced a company named Zinc8 has signed a letter of intent to build its first major manufacturing hub at the TechCity iPark 87 site to create hundreds of jobs.

“This was a town that’s been in despair,” said Ron McDonald, the president and CEO of Zinc8 Energy Solutions. “I just thought this could work here, we got lots of area for parking, for putting our containers. These are big containerized units, great labor pool.”

Tracy Contreras is the manager of Enzo’s Ristorante, a pizza restaurant right across the street from TechCity.

“I watched the whole thing evolve from seeing life there, knowing life there, living in the area all my life, to seeing piles of rubble over there,” said Contreras. “I can’t wait to see life over there again.”

She said all the new jobs that could be coming will help the restaurant.

“I hear stories from back in the day, you know, lines out the door when IBM was over there. So we know what was there and hopefully, we can bring that back,” said Contreras.

The EPA said the work to begin to remove the asbestos piles on the site will begin on Monday and should be completed in three to four months. ​