Demolition work began on the southeast corner of the Collier Street garage. [Bob Joseph/WNBF News][/caption]

Demolition crews have started to tear down a city-owned parking garage in downtown Binghamton.

Workers from Gorick Construction began the project on the southeast corner of the five-level ramp around 9 a.m. Monday.

The project - which will cost nearly $500,000 - is expected to take about six weeks to complete.

Mayor Richard David said the work started with breaking the glass and removing the metal from the stairs.

Speaking on WNBF Radio's Binghamton Now program minutes after the demolition started, David said a safety perimeter was set up to protect motorists and pedestrians while the work is underway.

The mayor said several issues had to be addressed before the city could move forward with the project. The garage was closed last November because of safety concerns.

A public parking lot is planned on the garage site after the demolition is finished.

David has said the property - which is just under one acre in size - offers "long-term economic development opportunities.

A "parking" sign in the rubble next to the closed garage. [Bob Joseph/WNBF News][/caption]For breaking news and updates on developing stories, follow @BinghamtonNow on Twitter.