Wednesday, December 30, 2009
One of our local legacies is the Ithaca Gun Factory where they made shotguns starting back in the 1880's. One hundred years later, in 1987, they moved out of the old factory and it began its decay. At one point someone realized there was a lot of lead around and tests were done. The factory sits across the street from an apartment building, and above and elementary school. One of Ithaca's natural landmarks is right below as well, and back in the day the guns were tested by shooting into the cliffs. Since people spend a fair amount of time there the EPA came in with amazing vacuum cleaners and sucked up all the soil in the cliffs and ground, replaced it with clean stuff, and called the whole thing done. Except the building itself was full of lead, asbestos, barium, etc. Remember, guns don't kill people, hazardous materials kill people. So after a few years of haggling over condos planned for the site; how tall they'd be, would the developer give the city some land for a park, who would pay for the demolition, the go ahead was given and they delayed only a few more months before getting down to work. The following pictures show the removal of the buildings, and as of the end of 2009 all that remains a large pile of debris.
After years of delay, the day finally came when I walked up the hill and saw pieces of the building being picked apart. Due to the contamination in the materials they had to spray water as they worked to protect those who parked below, live across the street, or walk by. Looks like enough water to keep the dust down.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Down in The Flats there's another clean-up underway and under wraps. This one is right next to an elementary school and surely involves worse problems so it was completely covered for the process. It's known as Markle's Flats and the ground is contaminated with coal tar from an old coal gasification plant. Any picks on the next economy saving industry in the neighborhood that will need millions of dollars to "clean up?"
Just a little of two buildings left. Once the demolition was complete tests were done on the materials and found to be more contaminated, with worse substances, than expected. This means a much higher cost to finish the job, and deciding who and what they'll spend is still unresolved.