The sun started to rise today over this building in Westover, near Johnson City, New York.
|Main Street, Westover with former BAE building on right.|
This building was one of the largest wood framed structures in the United States when it was built during World War II. It is also known as Air Force Plant 59. Built in 1942, it sits on 30 acres and the building (actually, several buildings, a couple possibly of historic value) totals some 612,000 square feet. What you are seeing is a very small portion - most of it is not visible from where pedestrians can see it, just the very front.
Until September 8, 2011 this building, in walking distance of my house, housed a series of defense contractors (including, at one time, GE, and Martin Marietta), and, on September 7, 2011, held some 1300 employees of BAE Systems.
On September 8, 2011, the building was severely flooded during Tropical Storm Lee. A salvage effort followed.
But, in November of that year, the building was deemed unsalvageable.
Our area came close to losing the 1300 jobs, too. As it was, when those people left, many local businesses suffered. The jobs, for our neighborhood, may never be replaced.
Since then, the building has sat, vacant, a blight on my neighborhood.
Weeds line the walks and grow in the parking lot.
Now, birds and who knows what else inhabit the property. Former landscaping plants still show color-tulips in the spring, daylilies, and finally, bushes coloring up for fall.
Now, bids are being sought to demolish the former BAE facility. The winner of the contract should be named, perhaps as early as the end of September.
Demolition is supposed to start soon after. Although, I'll believe it when I see it.
I have blogged so much about you, former BAE building. Through your Bradford Pears blooming in the spring, through Oreo snow, through fall color.
Now our neighborhood, like so many in our area, face a "defining moment". What will happen to the property? Our neighborhood's future may be in the balance.
There are several possibilities. "To Be Continued - Eventually".
For now, there is only the golden glow of goodbye.