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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

Susan Sarabasha
Toxics Targeting, Sierra Club, Greenpeace
311 Tupper Road
West Danby, NY
Nancy Schuler
221 Strawberry Hill Circle
, New York
908 Bowery
New York, NY
Cora Ellen Luke
211 Strawberry Hill Circle unit 4
Ithaca, NY
Peter Tringali
9814 St Rte 414
Lodi, NY
Maria Antoniak
308 N Cayuga St
Ithaca, NY
Doreen Alsen
12 Leroy Ave
Lansing, NY
Alla Lukina
535 Warren rd
Ithaca, NY
Jennifer Engel
Dewitt Mall Merchants Association
927 Taughannock Blvd
Ithaca, NY
Anna Parks
88 Village Circle Apt 6
Ithaca, NY
Charles Daniel
8665 Bay Parkway, F4
Linda Scaffido
4 Saunders Rd
Ithaca, NY
Carol Chernikoff
Ithaca, NY
Irene Weiser
334 Brooktondale Road
Brooktondale, NY
Shari Korthuis
502 N. Albany St.
Ithaca, New York
Mark Karlsen
209 Blake Hill Rd
MC Garcia
25 Cornell Street
Ithaca, NY
Neil Freson
26 Bitternell Lane
Henrietta, NY
Patricia Forton
115 Campbell Ave
Ithaca, NY
Poppy Singer
1244 Ellis Hollow Road
Ithaca, NY
Michelle Wheeler
Ithaca, Ny
Rachel Hogancamp
111 Crescent Place
Ithaca, NY
Joy Constantine
15 Muriel Street
Ithaca, NY
Amy Harlib
212 W 22nd St Apt 2N
New York, NY
Alice Grow
First Baptist Church Ithaca
1047 Coddington Road Apt B
Ithaca, NY
Diane Bonaccorsi
580 Nelson RD.
Ithaca, NY
Alex Chernyakov
627 Warren Pl
Ithaca, NY
Ashley Miller
126 Sears Street
Ithaca, NY
Elaine Livingston
1403 Glenwood Rd
Vestal, NY
Teresa Vossen
110 N Titus Ave 1A
Ithaca , NY
Nancy Pollak
125 Giles St.
Ithaca, NY
Tammy Sritecha
1009 State Route 79
Richford, NY
David Hopkins
First Baptist Church
309 N Cayuga
Ithaca, NY
Mary Ann McDonough
65 Highland Avenue
Otisville, New York
Kathy Rodgers
40 Hartwood Rd.
Ithaca, NY
Bill Brauninger
916 Stewart Avenue
Ithaca, NY
Elisa Evett
298 Bald Hill Rd
Brooktondale, NY
Lynn Thommen
916 Stewart Avenue
Ithaca, New York
Mark F. Lenzenweger
420 Utica Street
Ithaca, NY
Isabel Lu
Marion Susie Kossack
208 Nelson Rd
Ithaca, NY
Kathleen Lynch
116 Kay St.
Ithaca, NY
Nomi Talmi
709 N. Cayuga Street
Ithaca, NY
Mark Bodenstein
506 Warren Place
Ithaca, NY
Barbara Davidson
412 Linn St.
Ithaca, NY
Yunetta Anggiamurni
316 North Geneva Street
Ithaca, NY
Elaan Greenfield
417 E. Lincoln St.
Ithaca , NY
Sarah Caspar
525 Hopewell Rd
Downingtown, PA
Allison Deutsch Andersen
501 N Aurora St
Ithaca, NY
James Burnham
Lifestages Counseling
512 Utica St.
Ithaca, NY