Village of New Berlin accuses county of failing to protect citizens

NEW BERLIN – The Village of New Berlin is preparing to take Chenango County to court over a condemned downtown building it contends is a threat to citizens.

County codes officials and local emergency crews were called to the three-story, 19th-century brick building at 2 N. Main St. in early January because individuals near the building noticed bricks were falling from it.

Code Enforcement Officer Bruce Bates said at the time that “the building was in need of attention and is in danger of collapsing.” Residents were given one hour to evacuate and the building was later condemned.

New Berlin Mayor Carol Riley says the village is currently preparing an Article 78, which is a form of lawsuit, to compel the county into action in demolishing or stabilizing the structure.

“They gave people only an hour to leave because it was so dangerous, and then they let it sit there for months since, not doing anything. I’m afraid the building may collapse and people could be killed or hurt. It would be a catastrophe even if you were in your car. It’s my responsibility to protect the people and the village,” said the mayor.

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