Lackawanna, NY (WBEN) - Today the completion of the rail relocation project was announced at the site of the old Bethlehem Steel Plant in Lackawanna.
The project entailed the installation of roughly two miles of railroad track on the site, and the removal of rail tracks that had previously hindered access.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said the site is now ripe for development.
"Just having this rail relocation line completed has opened up a whole new door of opportunities for this site" Poloncarz said. "We may never have 25,000 jobs on this site again, but we're never going to be as low as we were recently."
Poloncarz says that with the new rail track, the site has easy access to vehicular, boat, and rail transport, something that's attractive to potential developers.
"I remember when this plant closed in 1983, and the impact it had on this entire community. Not just Lackawanna, but all of Western New York, and it took 15 years to come out of that funk, but we're coming out of it and the proof is in the pudding" Poloncarz said.
Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy was also on hand at the event.
"I say this all the time," Duffy said. "For those who think the glass is half-empty, take a step back and look at what is going on in this region."
The site contains 300 acres of land that can be developed. The rail project cost nearly $5 million to complete.