BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Residents living on Peabody Street, in Buffalo's Seneca Babcock Neighborhood, celebrated a small victory, Thursday afternoon.
A city judge ruled in favor of the residents wanting to exterminate a property that has been an eyesore in the neighborhood, since 2018.
Since its demolition in 2018, Battaglia Trucking, Inc. has been abandoned, while concrete, trash and rats roam the lot.
The leftover soot after it was engulfed in flames last summer has also become part of the air the residents breath, leaving the community with continuous havoc.
Diane Lemanski bought her current house in 1985, but she has been a resident of the Seneca Babcock Neighborhood all her life.
She said, for the last 15 years, she and her fellow neighbors have had a terrible quality of life.
While this ruling is a clear reason to celebrate, Lemanski said she has pushed this for more than 10 years, and that this ruling has re-opened wounds that are hard to discuss.
A city judge ruled in favor of the residents.
Now, the City of Buffalo has the legal authority to pursue an emergency demolition order for the building and order a cleanup, as well as getting the rats under control.
"It was even worse when he was opened because we would have 200 concrete trucks running down our streets everyday," Diane Lemanski said. "The trucks were never covered with the concrete in it so it would be just everywhere. you couldn't get away with it. You couldn't open our windows, you couldn't open your doors, you couldn't sit on your porch. no quality of life whatsoever."
"It feels my belly with rage and my heart with real grief to know a person who has millions of dollars in the bank can treat a working class community like this, like they are just a piece on his bottom line," Clean Air organizing and leadership development director, Emily Terrana said.
Even though the site is shut down, Terrana said folks in the neighborhood are still breathing particulate matter.
She said this is not just an eyesore and that they are also calling it a "public health crisis".
She also wants residents to also have a real seat at the table in the decision-making, on what will take the facility's place once it is cleaned up.
This next step gives hope for the residents of the neighborhood, but Lemanski said she will not believe it until she sees action.
The owner of the property, Peter Battaglia, will be back in housing court on August 3.