You are here

Concerns Arise from Demolition at Former Tompkins County Library


ITHACA, N.Y. (WENY) -- Tuesday marks the second day of demolition for the former Tompkins County library, but community concern remains high. Walter Hang is the president of the environmental database group Toxics Targeting. Hang says the City of Ithaca condemned the building, meaning they could do a controlled demolition with asbestos inside.

"The problem is when they started to demolish the building this morning, people took video and they weren't spraying down the demolition process," said Toxics Targeting President, Walter Hang. "So dust could be migrating off the site."

According to Hang, during a demolition of this nature, it's critical to maintain a constant stream of water to help keep the debris wet in order to mitigate the potential for it to become airborne.

"You can see behind me there's signs that say 'asbestos hazard', you have to wear protective gear," said Hang. "Well, if you have to wear protective gear on the other side of that fence, what about on this side of the fence."

Ithaca-based "Travis-Hyde Properties" is the agency that owns the property. Once demo is complete, they'll be building a housing complex with senior living space in its place. In an interview on Monday, owner Frost Travis said they're required by law to maintain a safe work site, or face fines.

"We are following all the safety precautions that are prescribed by the Department of Labor and the DEC, the Department of Health and of course the EPA," said President of Travis Hyde Properties President, Frost Travis.

Travis says the Department of Labor sent a field inspector today and the inspector reports the construction company, Gorick, is following all guidelines.