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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

Jennifer Cleland
333 Spencer Rd
Ithaca , NY
Rev. Margaret Weis
First Unitarian Society of Ithaca
685 Sheldon Road
Freeville, NY
Nancy Brcak
Ithaca College
5214 Jacksonville Rd.
Trumansburg, NY
Suzanne McMannis
Earthwalk Farm
P.O. Box 4174
Ithaca, NY
Robert Grommes
113 Walnut St
Ithaca, NY
Mary Hornbuckle
Windy Hill Farm
Freeville, NY
Diana Nathanielsz
203 E Upland Road
Ithaca, NY
Wade Wykstra
205 Warren Place
Ithaca, NY
Fran Helmstadter
135 Bella Vista Circle
Ithaca, NY
Magdalen Gillard
First Baptist Church
110 Woolf Lane
Ithaca, NY
Charles Geisler
Cornell University
517 Ellis Hollow Cr. Rd.
Dryden, NY, NY
Holly Van Sciver
130 Cascadilla Park Rd
Ithaca, NY
Michael Busch
503 N. Tioga St
Ithaca , NY
Mihal Ronen
116 West Falls Street
Ithaca, NY
Ellen Zaslaw
109 Cayuga Heights Rd.
Ithaca, NY
Rebecca Mosher
9 Ringwood Ct W
Ithaca, NY
Judith Pratt
Ithaca, NY
Teresa Burns
Terry Burns
116 Cascadilla Ave
Ithaca, NY
Christopher Morgan Loy
173 Whitetail Drive
Ithaca , NY
Lisken Cordes
Senior Principal Gifts Officer
Cornell University
404 Highland Road
Ithaca, NY
Rosemary Pellegrino
282 Enfield Main Rd
Ithaca, NY
Benjamin Kahn
Communications Advisor
United Nations and World Bank
316 N. Geneva Street
Ithaca, NY
Margaret McCasland
202-7 Cypress Court
Ithaca, NY
Stephen Heller
131 E. Green St. Apt. 506
Ithaca, NY
Jessica Canfield
34 Meadowlark Dr
Ithaca, NY
Margot Brinn
600B Hector St
Ithaca, NY
Ann wexler
220 Pearl St
Ithaca , NY
Peter Bloom
210 Willard Way Loop
Ithaca, NY
Jackie Jablonski
115 Northview Rd
Ithaca, NY
Star Bressler
Executive Director
Discovery Trail
525 LINN St
Ithaca, NY
Chris Santospirito
49 Whitted Rd
Ithaca, NY
Sarah Adams
V. Romanoff & Associates
4 Falls St
Trumansburg, NY
Victoria Romanoff
V. Romanoff & Associates
4 Falls St
Trumansburg, NY
Sabrina Johnston
100 Park St
Ithaca, NY
Regi Teasley
201 Cliff Park Rd
Ithaca, NY
Renee Starrett Qamar
162 Lexington Dr
Ithaca, NY
Janet Wagner
206 Winston Drive
Ithaca, NY
Joyce Marsh
Sole proprietor
Joyce Marsh, LCSWR
122 W Court St # 109
Ithaca, NY
Robert Frank Strait
Visitor to the Ithaca area for over 35 years.
Strait's Corners, New York
Adrienne Clay
Cobb St.
Ithaca, NY
leonora letchworth
110 Oakwood Lane
Ithaca, NY
Alison Young
Operations Manager
213 Linn St. Apt 1
Ithaca, NY
Leslie Miller
712 N Tioga st.
Ithaca, NY
6107 COLD SPRINGS ROAD, Apt, Suite, Bldg. (optional)
Trumansburg, NY
Abigail Cohn
309 The Parkway
Ithaca, NY
William Sharfman
50 Riverside Drive 15B
New York, NY
Martha Fischer
772 Bostwick Rd
Ithaca, NY
Mary Katzenstein
David Fontanella
Tompkins County Resident
PO Box 672
Trumansburg, NY
Harold Kugelmass
PO Box 264
Interlaken, NY