July 27, 2013


McGraw tearing down building

Group looking at making improvements with aid of federal grant

BuildingJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
The ‘leaning tower’ building at 28 Main St. in McGraw is expected to be torn down by the end of next week.

Staff Reporter

McGRAW — In a special meeting Thursday night, the Village Board voted to accept a bid of $142,075 from Cortland based Contento Demolition to tear down the long-vacant “leaning tower” building at 28 Main St.
The board was considering a second bid of $198,000 from Owego-based Peak Environmental before making its decision on Thursday.
The long-derelict building was substantially weakened at the beginning of the month when rising floodwaters from adjacent Mosquito Creek eroded parts of the foundation and partially collapsed an interior wall, causing the entire building to shift.
The China Wok Chinese Restaurant, which is situated in the “leaning tower’s” potential fall zone, remains closed as a safety precaution.
Because Mosquito Creek lies in the shadow of the “leaning tower,” the demolition will require careful planning and execution.
“It’s a tricky demo with the creek on one side and the buildings on the other side,” said Contento owner Jerry Contento. “Its a protected trout stream, so we’re going to make sure that our stream protection plan is approved by the DEC (state Department of Environmental Conservation). It’s our primary concern.”
As it is also likely that the century-old “leaning tower” contains asbestos, the entire demolition process will be handled in the same way as an asbestos abatement, Contento said.
Mayor Allan Stauber said Friday afternoon that he expected the demolition contract to be finalized by Friday night, and the actual demolition process to begin some time next week.
“We’re hoping to have it down by the end of next week,” Stauber said. “It should take about two days to get the building in a pile, and maybe another day to haul material away.”
With such a steep price tag, the demolition figures to be a heavy financial burden on the village.
“Right now it’s coming from our general fund,” Stauber said of the cash to pay for the demolition. “But obviously that’s a big strain on our taxpayers.”
The current village budget is $739,645.
To alleviate some of that strain, Stauber said he and the Village Board are actively pursuing alternative sources of funds.
“We’ve been aggressively soliciting help from our state officials,” Stauber said. “There’s got to be some kind of fund out there that can help.”
Even with the “leaning tower’s” delicate positioning between a stream and another building, Contento seems confident that he and his crew will be able to take the building apart without incident.
“You never know when you’re talking about a structure that isn’t stable in any way,” Contento said. “But we’ll get it on the ground safely. That’s what we do.”


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