COLONIE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — You can’t miss it from I-90, but soon you won’t be able to recognize it. Demolition begins on the old Tobin’s First Prize meatpacking plant in Albany and Colonie on Tuesday.
It’s been a community eyesore for decades, but neighbors say there now seems to be eye-opening progress. In its heyday, the packaging plant turned more than thousands of meat in a day as well as provided many jobs in the area. For neighbor Kelly Commerford it was her family’s livelihood.
“It was a great place to work and everyone enjoyed it. Then when they shut down, the whole neighborhood just started to deteriorate some more,” said Commerford.
Starting on Monday, Feb. 21 through March 7, Exchange Street from Russell Road to Everett Road will be closed for demolition of the building. Lieutenant Robert Donnelly at the Colonie Police Department says from a safety standpoint it’s time to say goodbye.
“It’s not safe, and sections of the building have collapsed on their own. So we will be happy to get it down just because it will reduce the number of police calls there.”
The packaging plant has been closed since 1981 and over the years the building and the property have been decaying. Walter Brown says they are ready to bring some beauty into their neighborhood.
“We’ve been through a lot over the years and have been living in the shadow of this building,” said Brown.
Jackson Demolition, a Schenectady-based company is under contract to swing the wrecking ball at Tobin’s. Once the 32-acre brownfield site is torn down, it’s approved for a combination of residential, retail, commercial, and entertainment.
“It could be new jobs, new people, fresh faces, new housing, and a lot of opportunities are going to come our way finally,” said Brown.
Colonie Police are asking the public to avoid the area during demolition. Drivers will want to avoid the area and take alternate routes for the time being. Brown says it will be worth the wait.
“We don’t mind if we have to jump through hoops or live with a little dirt for a while. It’s nothing new, we will stick out and hopefully have our neighborhood back.”