Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

October 30, 2013

On their toes

City should monitor work during hospital demolition

 The Memorial Hospital demolition plan laid out for Johnson Heights residents Tuesday night is designed to keep inconvenience and problems to a minimum. We urge city officials to stay on top of the job during the the 12 months of the contract.

About 40 residents who live in the vicinity of the old hospital complex attended the information session and offered some good questions. Perhaps most assuring is the comment from City Engineer John DiFonzo, who noted that he, too, lives in the neighborhood and is keenly aware of concerns about the dismantling. “This matters to me. This is my neighborhood, too,” he said.

Although the contract length is a year, the firms involved — Ritter & Paratore, CCAPS Construction and EADS Consulting Group — are hopeful the work can wrap up early. A speedy completion may depend on weather conditions throughout the year.

There will be four phases for the work:

• Demolition of the parking decks at the southern edge.

• Asbestos removal followed by demolition of the medical office buildings.

• Asbestos removal followed by the demolition of the main entrance and the east and west wings.

• Asbestos removal followed by demolition of the center wing and south wing.

The eight-acre parcel will be smoothed and planted with grass to leave the tract as a green site.

Questions covered topics like noise, dust control, traffic and parking, and the impact heavy truck traffic will have on city streets. All of those areas have been taken into consideration and residents were assured there is a plan in place to handle each of the concerns.

We urge the mayor and council to give monthly status reports on the project. If everything goes according to plan, the razing should go without incident.

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