A Harlem gas station owner is fighting the city’s plans to develop his property and the land around it with new businesses and apartments, likening his battle to a David-versus-Goliath showdown.
In 1995, Elmore purchased the property as part of an urban renewal plan with a clause the city could buy it back. He said the clause expired in 2008.
“They didn’t want it when it was a cesspool here,” he said. “They didn’t want it. Now that things have turned around and it’s good, they want it.”
The city’s Economic Development Corporation said in a statement it “strongly disputes” Elmore’s version of events.
Elmore has filed paperwork to have a judge decide. The Harlem business owner employs 20 people and says he wants to keep them working and to keep what he’s toiled over since 1981.
“It’s like a David and Goliath situation, but you’ve got to do it if you want to stay here, and I want to stay, so we’re fighting it,” he said.
“I call this my little corner of the world, so I plan to be here until I can’t do it anymore,” he said. “Right now, I’m in good health and running strong, so I want to stay.”
The city said in its statement, “We just received the legal papers and will be responding in court.
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