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Coalition Letter Which Requests That Ithaca Mayor Myrick Require All Asbestos-Containing Materials to be Removed From the Former Tompkins County Public Library Building Prior to its Demolition

Honorable Svante Myrick
Mayor of Ithaca
108 East Green Street
Ithaca, NY 14850

We, the undersigned, write to request that you use your authority to take immediate, emergency action to make sure that the asbestos-contaminated former Tompkins County Public Library located at 310-314 North Cayuga Street in Ithaca, NY cannot be demolished until documented cancer-causing asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) are removed from the "entire building interior" pursuant to the asbestos abatement proposals referenced below.

Asbestos Health Hazards

Asbestos is a known human cancer-causing agent. Exposure to this toxic mineral can cause mesothelioma, an almost invariably fatal form of cancer, lung cancer, and asbestosis, a debilitating lung ailment. There is no known safe level of exposure to asbestos.

The Former Tompkins County Public Library

The site of the former Tompkins County Public Library has been proposed for redevelopment involving a housing project. It is located in a heavily trafficked neighborhood with residential dwellings on three sides of the structure. There are also numerous commercial buildings, a church, and a City park located immediately adjoining the abandoned building. The library faces North Cayuga Street, a major thoroughfare.

Each day, thousands of residents, schoolchildren, and commuters walk by this site. It is inconceivable that you could allow this asbestos-contaminated structure to be demolished over the course of literally weeks without requiring comprehensive environmental safeguards to prevent any and all public exposures to deadly asbestos.

Two Library Asbestos Abatement Proposals Reveal Extensive Asbestos-Containing Materials

As detailed below, the abandoned library was twice proposed to be cleaned up of "ALL interior asbestos containing materials present... (emphasis in the original)." It was specifically proposed that, "Asbestos materials to be removed shall include spray-on fireproofing, spray-on fireproofing debris, pipe and pipe fitting insulation, insulation mastic, door slabs with interior asbestos packing, linoleum flooring, and roofing materials."

See: Proposed Asbestos Abatement At The Former Tompkins County Library

These asbestos abatement plans makes irrefutable good sense and must be immediately implemented prior to any building demolition.

City of Ithaca Library Condemnation Order

Unfortunately, your administration recently condemned the library. See: City of Ithaca 310-314 North Cayuga Street Condemnation Order (9/4/2018)

This decision allows the developer to propose to demolish the structure without removing the documented ACMs. Since your administration's action could allow this stunningly dangerous demolition to occur, we are respectfully holding you directly responsible for making sure that the proposed demolition does not proceed.

Our Proposed Library Asbestos-Containing Materials Removal Plan

Given the public health hazards associated with demolishing a large asbestos-contaminated building without any environmental safeguards except spraying water on the toxic debris, we request that you require the developer to restore the structural integrity of the former library structure on a temporary basis and to remove all ACMs without any variances of applicable public health protection or other applicable laws, ordinances or regulatory requirements.

The library should only be demolished after the ACMs have been removed. This proposed plan of action would safeguard workers as well as public health. We request that you require our plan to be implemented without any delay given that the proposed demolition could proceed literally any day.

Documented Library Asbestos Hazards Must be Eliminated Prior to Demolition

Please note that on December 26, 2017 a proposal was submitted to the property developer to remove a wide range of documented ACMs from the structure prior to its demolition. The proposal documented:

"The property has been purchased by Travis Hyde Properties with the intent to demolish the current structure and construct a new senior living center. Delta was contracted by Travis Hyde Properties to perform a Pre-Demolition Asbestos Survey at the Structure. Numerous Friable Materials. Non-Friable and Non-Friable Organically Bound Asbestos Containing Materials were identified in the Pre-Demolition Survey."

"Based on conversations with the Tompkins County Department of Public Works, an asbestos abatement project was conducted in the early 1980's and included the removal of spray-on the [sic] fire proofing that could be reached and encapsulation of the work area (see attached photos). During the pre-demolition asbestos survey. [sic] it was discovered that many locations were not fully removed and some areas were encapsulated in place, other areas above hard ceilings were removed as far as could be reached with the remaining fire proofing is [sic] still attached to the building surfaces. The areas where hard ceilings exist have fire proofing debris laying on top of these ceiling surfaces."

"As stated above, the areas to be cleaned/decontaminated include the entire building interior, or approximately 20,000 square feet per floor (emphasis added)."

"Based on existing site conditions, it is anticipated that the ground floor, main floor and mezzanine levels (approximately 20,000 SF each), will be combined into a single regulated negative pressure work area, with access through attached decontamination units located on the ground floor of the common stairwells servicing all floors (this would place the affected stairwells as a part of the abatement work areas)."

"we are proposing to remove ALL (emphasis in the original) interior asbestos containing materials present as a part of the incidental disturbance clean up within each negative pressure incidental disturbance work area."

A second asbestos abatement proposal dated May 4, 2018 documented that, "This asbestos abatement Project will consist of the removal and disposal of non-asbestos materials, asbestos containing materials and asbestos contaminated materials throughout the renovation/demolition areas at the Former Tompkins County Library located at 310-314 North Cayuga Street in Ithaca, New York."


Given all the asbestos concerns documented herein, we request that you require all ACMs to be removed from the abandoned library without further delay and before the structure is demolished.

If the library is demolished for any reason without removing the ACMs, with all due respect we will hold you strictly responsible.

We trust that you will find our request to be self-explanatory, but please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Thank you for your consideration.

Yours truly,

cc: Honorable Barbara Lifton
Honorable Thomas F. O'Mara
Honorable Members of the Ithaca Common Council
Honorable Members of the Tompkins County Legislature

Total Signatory Count: 845

Erin Kerr
418 Richard Place
Ithaca, NY
Joe Holdner
109 Grassy Ridge Road
Olivebridge, New York
Louise Buck
1162 E Shore Drive
Ithaca, NY
Howard Barker
141 CollyerRd., Box 113
Smithville Flats, New York
Anne-Marie Allen
5287 Wheelock Rd.
Mount Morris, NY
Gabe Shakour
473 Etna Rd
Ithaca, New York
Daria Schneider
502 N. Tioga
Ithaca, NY
Conor Gaffney
718 N. Cayuga st.
Ithaca, ny
Barbars Simpson
Rev Dr
Ethical Culture
251 west 92 apt 8a, 8
New york, New York
Dorothy Pomponio
Groton Resource Awareness Coalition
206 Elm Street
Groton, New York
Akhtar Ehtisham
553 Elsie Avenue
South Plainfield, NJ
Lena Guyot
Otsego 2000
165 Goose St.
Fly Creek, NY
Brian Dalton
4197 Syracuse St
Dearborn Heights, MI
Judith Fitzgerald
560 West 218th Street, Apt. 6A, 6A
New York, NY
janet ievins
417 james cir
Talent, OR
Mary Kaszyca
111 Tamarack Ln
Trumansburg, NY
Alyssa Duerksen
Dynamic Body massage
409 W State St
Ithaca, NY
Rick Bonney
357 Decker Hill Road
Newfield, NY
Karen Gonta
Clinical Applications Support Specialist
Cornell Health, Cornell University
18 Beechnut Terrace
Ithaca, NEW YORK
Madeleine Oakley
533 Linn St.
Ithaca, NY
Helen Tseng
58 Mt. Pleasant Rd
Ithaca, NY
Gail Flanery
1137 Hedgewood Ln
Niskayuna, NY
Laura Krauss
893 Steam Mill road
Ithaca, NY
Alexandra Furmark Hill
theo whitley
cozmic enterprises
502 linn st
Ithaca, NY
Nicole Dauria
Special education teacher, downtown home owner, local business supporter, advocate for our earth and human rights
216 wood street
ithaca, NY
Erik Johnson
501 S Titus
Ithaca, NY
Michelle Russo
Michelle Russo, LCSW-R
108 N Cayuga St
Ithaca, Ny
Ashley Ickes
392 Brooktondale Rd.
Brooktondale , NY
Brendan Wilbur
216 Wood St
Ithaca, NY
Charlotte Ghiorse
Business owner
House of Choclet
132 A E. Spencer St
Ithaca, NY
Nathan Attwood
Senior Pastor
First United Methodist Church
4598 Forest Park Dr
Marianna, FL
Richard Entlich
40+ year Ithaca City resident
Fall Creek Neighborhood
Ithaca, NY
Stephen Stupke
7 Bridle Ln
Dryden, NY
Abram Kurtz
Kurtz brothers construction
248 floral ave
Ithaca, Ny
Katie Sirianni
Ithaca, NY
Robert Lynch
175 Gray Road
Ithaca, NY
Jeff Coyle
1547 county rd 132
Ovid, Ny
Landscaping in Itbaca
6811 county rd 129
Ovid, NY
Esther Herkowitz
94 Mary Street
Ithaca ny, NY
Steve Anagnostos
378 Thomas rd.
Ihaca, NY
Nathanael Nerode
174 Troy Rd.
Ithaca, NY
Elizabeth Sanders
Cornell University
16 The Byway
Ithaca, NY
Valerie Pavan
506 S Plain St
Ithaca, NY
Paul Friend
506 South Plain Street
Ithaca, NY