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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

Robbie Sanders
Home owner/ retired teacher
920 N. Aurora St
Ithaca, NY
Beth Kelly
105 Halcyon Hill Rd.
Ithaca, NEW YORK
Cynthia Smoyer
442 Troy Road
Ithaca, NY
Angela DeVivo
4110 Perry City Rd.
Trumansburg, New York
Anne Posel
324 Mitchell Street
Ithaca, New York
Brandon Brylinsky
IT Accessibility Coordinator
Cornell University
110 E. Marshall St.
Ithaca, NY
Bridget Meeds
204 Center Street
Ithaca, New York
Terry Marcus
706 Hanshaw Rd
Ithaca, NY
Annee Brous
Ithaca Bakery
400 N Meadow St
Ithaca, NY
Stephen Doria
112 Utica St.
Ithaca, NY
Julie Ann Dickens
Community Mental Health Nurse, QAI, TCMHS, Ithaca, NY
55 Main Street
Van Etten, NY
Julie Peterson
110 Gussie St, Nates Floral Estates
Ithaca, NY
Pamela Silverstein
Entrepreneur in residence
Life Changing Labs
215 N. Cayuga Street
Ithaca, NY
David Sherwyn
146 Ellis Hollow Creek Rd
Ithaca, NY
Suzanne Onodera
Onodera Studio
522 North Albany St.
Ithaca, NY
Suzanne Brody
Dir. of Education and Youth Programs
Temple Beth El
606 Utica St
Ithaca, NY
Catherine Holmes
207 Adams Street
Ithaca, NY
Carol Clarke
127 W. State St.
Ithaca, New York
Anne Woodard
1503 Slaterville Rd
Ithaca, NY
Elissa Cogan
313 East Buffalo Street
Ithaca, New York
Lisa Borst
222 Wood Street
Ithaca, New York
Karen Rodriguez
602 N. Cayuga Street
Ithaca, NY
Lydia Bowers
103 Cascadilla Street, Apt 1
Ithaca, NY
Nina Glasgow
207 W Remington Rd.
Michael Troutman
313 N. Geneva St.
Ithaca, NY
Robin Atkin
516 N Tioga St
Ithaca, New York
Christopher Predmore
516 N.Tioga St
Ithaca, NY
Stacey Langwick
309 North Albany Street
Ithaca, NY
Emily Finegan
313 N Geneva St
Ithaca, NY
Richard Driscoll
Newfield, NY
Benn Nadelman
403 McGraw House
Ithaca, New York
Nancy Emerson
1317 Trumansburg Road
Ithaca, NY
Ira Brous
Ithaca Bakery
400 N Meadow St
Ithaca, NY
Kenneth Burkhart
98 Hickory Circle
Ithaca, NY
Robyn Bem
3 Ringwood Ct W
Ithaca, NY
Roy Luft
P. O. Box 6473
Ithaca, NY
Sandra Vehrencamp
81 Besemer Hill Rd
Ithaca, NY
Aidan Chambliss
1010 North Tioga Street
Ithaca , NY
Mona Sulzman
310 Linn St 1
Ithaca, NY
Rebecca Lesses
902 North Cayuga St.
Ithaca, NY
Joanie Groome
Community Member
433 North Tioga St
Ithaca, NY
Barry Chester
313 East Buffalo Street
Ithaca, New York
Susan Robinson
772 Bostwick Road
Ithaca, NY
Marie McRae
13 Ringwood Court West
Ithaca, NY
Lillian Fan
Perri and Mick LoPinto
531 Elm St
Ithaca , NY
Kristin Ahlness
51 N Van Dorn Rd
Ithaca, NY
James Smoyer
442 Troy Road
Ithaca, NY
Myra Berkowitz
432 Hook Place
Ithaca, NY
Thomas Shelley
List Manager
118 E Court St
Ithaca, NY