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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

James-Henry Holland
Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Asian Studies, 300 Pulteney St.
Geneva, NY
Joan Farber
400 W 23rd St Apt 6l
New York, NY
Scott Teel
710 N. Cayuga St., Apt. 3
Ithaca, NY
Susan Spivack
250 Quarry St
Cobleskill, NY
John Given
118 Lieb Rd
South New Berlin, NY
Alice Ross
377 Skipperene rd
Narrowsburg , New York
A. Lindsay Groves
PO Box 930
Skaneateles, NY
Jennie Cramer
Horticulture Program Manager
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County
615 Willow Ave
Ithaca, NY
Devon Jenkins
Project Manager
Cornell University
525 Linn St
Ithaca, NY
Husband, Dad, Grandpa
AUBURN, New York
Laure Conklin Kamp
114 Penny Ln
Ithaca, NY
Deirdre Silverman
100 Travor Rd
Willseyville, NY
Ellen Grady
133 Sheffield Road
Ithaca, NY
Adriana Rovers
302 Utica Street
Ithaca, NY
Esther Racoosin
112 Roat Street
Ithaca, NY
Daniel Kolbin
One Willets place Apt 1
Ithaca, NY
Thomas Reyer
211 Gray Rd
Ithaca, NY
Kathryn Russell
434 Snyder Hill Rd
Ithaca, NY
Nancy Sharpe
216 6th St.
Liverpool, NY
hayya mintz
740 comfort rd
spencer, NY
Lesley Finch
3066 Proskine Pl.
Trumansburg, NY
Ellen Lane
104 Halcyon Hill Rd.
Ithaca, NY
MargaretAnn Bowers
WHole Learner
433 N Geneva St Apt#2
Ithaca, NY
Barbara Nussbaum
925 Mitchell Street, Apt. 1
Ithaca, NY
Zaccharie Charvolin
ITHACA, New York
Laura Gates-Lupton
121 West Court St.
Ithaca, NY
Teresa Halpert Deschanes
209 S. Geneva St.
Ithaca, St
Pamela Marshall
8480 Iradell Rd
Trumansburg, NY
leeny sack
123 e king rd
ithaca, ny
Mer Boel
Co-owner and resident at 424 N. Geneva Street
424 N. Geneva Street
Ithaca, NY
Sara Quick
41 Marsh Rd
Ithaca, New York
Julia Lapp
311 E Tompkins St
Ithaca, NY
Sioux O'Connor
Home owner
419 North Geneva Street
Ithaca, NY
Kerry Glennkeough
833 NAurora Street
Ithaca, NY
Judith Andrew
602 Utica St
Ithaca, NY
Barbara Coyle
1356 Slaterville Road
Ithaca, NY
James Shaw
1356 slaterville road
Ithaca, New York (NY)
Rachel Hockett
Artistic Director
Homecoming Players
145 North Sunset Dr
Ithaca, NY
Cora Yao
120 Utica Street
Ithaca , NY
Paige Chant
104 E. State St., Apt. B
Ithaca, NY
John Graves
319 Pleasant Street
Ithaca, New York
Mark Kuebel
Toxics Targeting
402 W. 148th St #42
New York, NY
Mildred Gittinger
1197 S Country Clb Dr
Niskayuna, NY
Lorraine Duncan
623 Shaffer Road
Newfield, NY
Nancy Stewart
509 Coddington Rd.
Ithaca , NY
Martin Jorgensen
1692 Ellis Hollow Rd. Apt 2
Ithaca, NY
Miranda Phillips
402 Utica St.
Ithaca , NY
Daniel Sternglass
Principal Technology and IP Consultant
Strategic Marketing Associates
403 Highgate Road
Ithaca, NY
Carol LaBorie
19 Lancashire Drive
Ithaca, NY
Patricia Nash
concerned dwontown worker
Ithacamade/DeWitt Mall
1044 Coddington Rd
Ithaca, NY