Cumberland Times-News

Local News

January 15, 2014

Window asbestos adds to Memorial demolition cost

CUMBERLAND — The discovery that more asbestos is at the old Memorial Hospital site forced the Cumberland City Council on Tuesday to approve a $76,000 change order to remedy the problem. That change order may not be the last one for the project, said City Administrator Jeff Rhodes.

“I caution that it’s likely a few more of these change orders may be needed,” Rhodes said. The asbestos was found in 460 windows in the sealant used for the windows.

The change order did not require any additional work days for Ritter & Paratore Contracting Inc. of Utica, N.Y. The eight-acre parcel will be smoothed and planted with grass to leave the tract as a green site, city officials have said.

City Hall is also on board for a face-lift of sorts. A plan is being developed to grade the soil and replace the trees and shrubs around the building. The soil grading should help with moisture issues in the building, officials said.

The proposal includes removing the existing trees and shrubs from around the building, cleaning the building and sloping the planting beds away from City Hall. The building would then get new landscaping, said Paul Eriksson, the city’s natural resource technician.

Plans for the new trees and shrubs caused a bit of humorous comment, especially the idea of planting varieties of trees that might bear fruit, including serviceberry.

“I would like no berries,” said Councilman David Kauffman. Mayor Brian Grim agreed.

“We hate nuts and berries,” Rhodes chimed in, to put an end to the discussion. Eriksson said that getting comment from elected officials on the developing plans was the purpose of the presentation. Plans for the proposed landscaping are still in development, city officials said.

The city also proclaimed 2014 the “Year of Friends Aware” in recognition of the organization’s 60th anniversary. Friends Aware serves around 140 individuals with developmental disabilities who live in Allegany County. The organization is in the midst of a capital campaign to renovate its 22,000-square-foot facility on Holland Street.

The discussions took place during the mayor and city council’s regular weekly meeting Tuesday at City Hall.

Matthew Bieniek can be contacted at

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