ELMIRA, N.Y. (WENY) -- In a community meeting Monday night, residents say they're ready to begin the long fight towards cleaning up the Elmira High School.
"Now we're beginning to reach the point where we want to engage the community, begin to organize a coalition, set some tasks, set some assignments to people," said organizer and concerned resident, Andy Patros. "We know it's going to be a slow build process, but we're ready to take that first step and get the community involved."
Monday night's meeting was held at the Elmira Elks Lodge as residents are looking to form a coalition demanding action from the state about cleaning up the contamination at Elmira High School. For residents, taking part in the community meeting is important to help protect the health and safety of their children.
"I'm a mother of eight sons, and one that just graduated from there," said Southside resident and mother, Tanisha Logan Lattimore. "One that's currently going there. Then I have to think of the future of my younger sons because that's the only high school. That's the only option we have left right now. So I'm here to see what they plan to do to make sure that it's going to be safe."
During the meeting, people asked questions as to how they should go about demanding change and what they would like to see done. Organizers and residents hope more people will join them in signing a petition to have the site classified as a "class one" contamination site, and work towards a comprehensive cleanup at the school.
"One person saying this needs to get cleaned up isn't going to help," said Elmira High School graduate, Peter Keenan. "But a thousand, five thousand. It's not just one voice shouting into the void. It's a huge voice. It's five thousand voices. So that's why it's important."
If you'd like to sign the coalition petition, please visit: http://www.toxicstargeting.com/elmirahs/letters/2018-05-04/coalition-letter.