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.
Carmie Elmore started renting his gas station at 110th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard from the city in 1981, when the neighborhood was still riddled with crime.
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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