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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

Philip McMichael
Professor of Development Sociology
Cornell University
1020 East Shore Drive
Ithaca, New York
Lauren Korfine
420 Utica St.
Ithaca, NY
Harold Mills
100 Park Street
Ithaca, NY
William Deats
503 Spencer road
Ithaca , New York
Margaret Royall
818 N Aurora St
Ithaca , NY
Amy Opperman Cash
Marketing Director for ballet downtown
Ithaca Ballet
PO Box 4341
Ithaca, New York
Eric Banford
401 E Miller Rd
Ithaca, NY
Carolyn Clark Pierson
SUNY Delhi
5262 County Highway 14
Treadwell, NY
Sara Speiser
299 Hornbrook Road
Ithaca , NY
Roberta Voit
371 Brickman Road
Hurleyville, NY
Ineke Demuynck
122 W Court Street
Ithaca, New York
Katherine Johnson
110 Queen Street #1
Ithaca, NY
Nishkala Leslie Jenney
132 Northview. Road
Ithaca, New York
Kathleeen Lille Lilley
112 W. Lincoln St.
Ithaca, NY
Jayne Port
246 smith rd
Newfield, NY
Diane Jerdan
Clinical Social Worker
122 West Court St
Ithaca, NY
Christopher Babcock
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
122 West Court St.
Ithaca, NY
Sigrid Kulkowitz
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
104 Rachel Carson Way
Ithaca, New York
Steven Bissen
641 Midline Road
Freeville, NY
Nina Widger
1642 Slaterville Rd
Ithaca, NY
Patty Sipman
306 E Yates
Ithaca, NY
Andrew Cranston jr
Holmes, ny 12531
Kimbery Reynolds-Jolles
313 Cascadilla
Ithaca, New York
Judy Barringer
3480 Agard Rd
Trumansburg, NY
Karin Suskin
129 Kline Rd
Ithaca, NY
Amy Perez
Cornell Law School
308 N Cayuga St
Ithaca, New York
Pam Mackesey
323 Pleasant St.
Ithaca, NY
Pete Meyers
Tompkins County Workers' Center
142 Giles Street
Ithaca, NY
Candace Collmer
608 E Miller Rd
Ithaca, NY
Jonathan Plotkin
Ithaca, New York
Maria Barry
PO Box 434, 91 East Main Street
Trumansburg, NY
Camille Doucet
30 Marsh Rd
Ithaca, State
Nancy Huffman
21 Ringwood Ct. S
Ithaca, NY
Penny J Beebe
P.O. Box 102
Freeville, NY
Hank Roberts
253 Coddington Rd
Ithaca, NY
Mary Lauppe
217 N Aurora
Ithaca , Ny
Carla McKain
420 W Court St
Ithaca, NY
Lesley Brill
64 W University St
Alfred, NY
Joe Quirk
147 Avenue A #2R
New York , NY
Martha Rowen
101 Clark St
Brooklyn, NY
Nridget Wilson
P.O. Box 4224
Ithaca, Ny
Laura Free
509 Utica Street
Ithaca, NY
Mary Smith
Communications Coordinator
Church Women United in New York State
2001 S Clinton Ave
Rochester, NY
Ammitai Worob
215 North Cayuga Street
Ithaca, NY
6 Stoneleigh Trl
Victor, NY
InShik Lee
Ithaca, NY
Lynn Podhaski
Life Stages Counseling
708 Mitchell st
Ithaca, NY
Shyama Orum
71 Mountain Top Road
Spring Glen, NY
Mark Hartsuyker
819 Taughannock Blvd.
Ithaca, NY
Jacquelyn Clinton
1109 N Cayuga Street
Ithaca, NY