The day has not yet come when the old, empty New Paltz Town Hall is at last torn down. When plans were released advising that access to the community center would be via Bonticou View Drive during the demolition, some residents worried that the detour could deter voters going to that polling place. There was little risk of that, however: tearing down a building is in some ways more complicated than putting one up in the first place.
Town engineer David Clouser, reached for comment, explained that the actual demolition can’t begin until asbestos abatement is completed. While asbestos in an empty building poses no risk for occupants, demolishing one that’s riddled with the stuff could leave the carcinogen hanging in the air, endangering anyone where the winds blow. That’s why there must be no trace of the stuff before the bulldozers are fired up. That contract has been awarded to Douglas R. Whitaker and Associates, a Kingston firm with expertise in asbestos abatement procedures. Specific measures must be taken to remove the asbestos and document that process, meaning plenty of paperwork along with the physical labor.
According to Clouser, “it needs to be a clean building” before demolition can commence, and Douglas Whitaker was the only person who could provide an estimate as to when town hall will be a clean building. A return to Whitaker for comment was not returned by press time.