Monday, July 28, 2014

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Buffalo

Demolition to continue at Kensington Heights

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It's been an eyesore in the City of Buffalo for nearly three decades. Now the vacant Kensington Heights housing projects may be one step closer to finally being demolished. Last month the Environmental Protection Agency ordered the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority to clean up the remaining asbestos at the site. YNN's Kevin Jolly talked with one BMHA board member who's still not convinced the demolition will happen any time soon.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- "The sad part about it, it's been an eyesore with the city for the past 30 years," said Joe Mascia, Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority Board of Commissioners member.

For years, Mascia has been pushing to have the vacant Kensington Heights housing complex demolished. Closed down back in 1981, demolition officially began in the spring of 2009. But that quickly came to a halt after some residents raised concerns about asbestos in the buildings.

"It's a children's park, there's football that goes on here," Mascia said. "The concern was, was there any contamination to the field and any health issues that may happen to the residents or the children."

The EPA investigated.

"Well from their investigation they found the asbestos wasn't removed properly, some of it was still on site so the wanted the BMHA to come up with a plan not only how to remove the asbestos but the demolition of the site," said Mascia.

Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a compliance order requiring the BMHA to complete the asbestos abatement so the buildings can be demolished

"It has been for years and continues to be the plan of the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority to abate the asbestos is the towers and demolish the buildings so the site can be ready for future development and that hasn't changed in any way," BMHA Lawyer Adam Perry.

The BMHA received a $5 million dollar state grant to demolish the complex.

"At this point the state grant funds that were allocated for demolition are still available," Perry said. "It's unclear now what the total final cost will be."

And that has Mascia worried, "There's only a certain amount of money left to do the demolition and with this extra added cost that the EPA's putting on the housing authority to demolish the buildings it may cause us not to demolish the entire site."

"BMHA is committed to seeing that all the towers are demolished, and should additional funds be necessary BMHA is also committed to identifying all necessary funds to complete the job 100 percent," Perry said.

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