Canton village officials say asbestos not as bad as anticipated at MR Bell's property – WatertownDailyTimes.com

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CANTON — A tax delinquent property on Riverside Drive has been tested for asbestos by the village as officials consider taking over the property.

MR Bell’s, 30 Riverside Dr., is at the center of a deal between the village, town, county and state to buy the property and remediate any contamination on site. As the lead agency on the project, the village will be responsible for demolition of the structure.

The tax delinquent property owes $21,528.15 in taxes, penalties, fees and interest and has drawn interest from the state due to what is thought to be a significant degree of contamination. In July, the village and town each agreed to send letters to the Office of the State Comptroller to express interest in purchasing the property.

After the property is bought, the village will be responsible for razing the structure before any remediation of the site can occur. According to St. Lawrence County Attorney Stephen D. Button, the state is agreeable to bearing the cost and labor of the cleanup if the property is bought by the village or town.

According to Mayor Michael E. Dalton, the building does contain asbestos, but testing by Atlantic Testing Laboratories shows it is not as significant as anticipated. Mr. Dalton said 10 of the 38 samples taken at MR Bell’s contained asbestos.

“I guess it could have been a lot worse than it was, especially if the walls were filled with asbestos containing materials, which they are not,” he said. “The amount of asbestos there is relatively small but it still has to go through an abatement process and that is what has held us up is getting numbers for that.”

Mr. Dalton was sharing estimates for abatement and monitoring of asbestos and demolition of the structure with Mr. Button Monday morning, but could not release the quotes.

“We have received some quotes. I am waiting for one more so I cannot make them all public,” he said. “I am giving the county attorney what I have now. If I get a fourth bid, that will go into the mix.”

While the severity of the asbestos problem is less than was expected, it still may mean more negotiations before the municipality can go forward.

“The village is committed to spending up to $30,000 on it. The numbers are going to come in over that $30,000, so the boards will have to choose where the rest of that money will come from if they want to go forward,” Mr. Dalton said. “I don’t reckon the numbers are extreme, but at the same time they are more than I am authorized to go for.”

Mr. Dalton did not have a timeline for the next step of the project, but said he believed the county and state wanted to act quick.

“I reckon they want to get it done by the end of the year,” he said.

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