TOWN OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WKBW) — Early Saturday morning, the Tonawanda Coke smoke stacks were imploded, a sign of the transformation of the area.
"It's been a very emotional day, it was really incredible to watch those three smoke stacks fall," Emily Tarrana with the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York, said.
Many members of the community had been fighting for the demolition of the smoke stacks since 2013. That was when Tonawanda Coke was found guilty of 11 counts of violating the Clean Air Act and 3 counts of violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act for releasing a known carcinogen into the air.
"Those smoke stacks represent over a century of harm to our communities," Tarrana said, "and to see them come down is really a win for the entire community."
"Our landscape has changed for the better," Town of Tonawanda Supervisor Joseph Emminger said, "and there's a bright new tomorrow for the Town of Tonawanda."
The clean-up of the site has already begun, which officials say could take years. Following the clean-up, the site is planning to be redeveloped. Supervisor Emminger says that, whoever becomes the next tenant, would have the potential to change the face of the area.
"We have to make sure for the next 100 years that the decisions we make in the next three or four years, will be something that my children, and their children will be proud of," Emminger said.