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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

Jo Clayson
842 Phillip Road
Fort Plain, NY
Mary Beth O'Connor
119 Middaugh Rd
Brooktondale, NY
Bill King
130 Westhaven Rd.
Ithaca, NY
Stephen Engleman
125 Valley View Rd
Ithaca, NY
Carolyn Fellman
15 Park St.
Moravia, NY
Margaret Goodman
51 Broomall Lane
Glen Mills , PA
Susan Andrews
15 Park St.
Moravia, New York
Therese Araneo
Landlords Association if Tompkins County
1311 Coddington Road
Brooktondale, NY
John Jongen
Citizens' Alliance for a Pristine Perinton
164 W Church Street, Fairport
fairport, NY
John Benson
5461 Hornby Rd
Beaver Dams, NY
Victoria Furio
Climate Justice
37 Highland Ave
Yonkers, NY
Julia Morgan
The Wildflower Bed & Breakfast
234 Rachel Carson Way
Ithaca, United States
Maria Studer
127 Springtime Lane West
Janice Burton
3058 Slaterville Road
Fran Manzella
371 Teton Court
Ithaca, NY
John McClelland
3507 Oakland St.
Ames, IA
Leslie Gold
40 Downing Street
Ann Carpenter
594 Bostwick Rd
Ithaca, New York
Maude Rith Rith
Administrative Coordinator
Suicide Prevention & Crisis Service of Tompkins County
124 E Court St
Ithaca, NY
John Bowers
P.O. Box 15
Ithaca, NY
Paul Feeny
105 Devon Road
Ithaca, NY
Lars Peterson
Ledyard, NY
Lisa Frank
, NY
Martha Ferger
PO Box 8
Dryden, NY
Susan Terwilliger
620 Elm Street Ext.
Ithaca, NY
Sarah Raite
51 Starnes Ave
Asheville, NC
Deborah Rifkin
43 N Applegate Rd
Ithaca, NY
Pat DeMatteo
Linn St
Ithaca, New York
Judy Braiman
Empire State Consumer Project
50 Landsdowne Lane
Rochester, New York
Randi Beckmann
Belle Sherman House
106 Worth St
Ithaca, NY
Jaclene Weston
25 Chase Lane
Ithaca, NY
Deborah Loewe
22 Penny Ln
Ithaca, New York
Joe Cummins
PO Box 825
Ithaca, NY
Chris Marx
326 Stone Quarry Rd
Ithaca, New York
Katie Fiorella
1303 N. Cayuga Street
Ithaca, NY
Elizabeth Reed
215 N Cayuga St, Apt.133
Ithaca, NY
Harry Aceto
411 Willow Ave.
Ithaca, NY
Executive Director
Citizens' Environmental Coalition
Sandra Pollack
313 Washington St
Ithaca, NY
Ann Finneran
PO Box 143, 239 Main St
Hurleyville, NY
Sierra A Robinson
251 Iradell Rd.
Ithaca, NY
Jerry Fong
672 Backer Road
Beaver Dams, New York
Franklin Crawford
108 N. Sunset Dr., Garage Apt
Ithaca, NY
Dooley Kiefer
Pro Se
Highland Rd
Ithaca, NY
Molly Diesing
711 Mitchell Street
Ithaca, NY
Nancy Miller
501 Midline Rd
Freeville, Tompkins
Andrea Dietrich
316 West Seneca, Apt. 1
Ithaca, NY
Joshua Smith
213 Wood Street
Ithaca, NY
Ronnise Way
Sale associate
Women’s opportunity center
321 west hill circle
Ithaca, Ny
Lynda Hoover
Mary Durham Boutique Asst. Manager
Mary Durham Boutique/Women's Opportunity Center
110 W. Court St.
Ithaca, NY