The vacant public housing tower in Germantown that was going to be imploded on Sept. 14 will now be blown to bits on Sept. 13th instead. Generally, the city tries to do demolitions on Sundays, but has responded to the community’s request that it be Saturday instead, according to PlanPhilly:
At a Thursday night public meeting inside Mt. Moriah Baptist Church — located just steps away from the doomed building — Samantha Phillips, the city’s director of emergency management, said that Mayor Michael Nutter approved a request to move the building’s implosion forward by one day…
“We spent time going to risk management, the police department and other partner agencies to make sure we can do this just as safely on Saturday, and we absolutely can,” Phillips said. “There might be a few more resources out there, but we’re going to get it done.”
The demolition of such large buildings is an incredibly complex undertaking. In this case, residents who live right near the site must be out of their homes by 4:30 a.m. on Sept. 13th, while the two block radius around the tower -- the "dust zone" -- will be closed off.
This dust zone is worthy of note. Unlike other cities, Philadelphia requires it -- which seems incongruous with the city's lack of mandated cautious oversight in other construction contexts. But dust worries people. At the meeting to discuss rescheduling the demolition, residents expressed their concerns about it, and were promised that it isn't hazardous beyond the obvious fact that dust is annoying and makes people cough, especially those with respiratory conditions. When someone asked about asbestos in the dust, PlanPhilly reports, they were told by demolition contractor Ed Burns "that abatement efforts are already underway and will be concluded by the date of the implosion."
Of course, dust can travel because it's...dust. So residents are being advised to "close all windows, cover air-conditioning units and seal any gaps in entranceways." They might as well get a giant Breaking Bad-style tarp and throw it over their houses too.
A demo project coordinator will come around the week before and inspect the homes.
As for the day of the implosion, residents near the site will be evacuated. The city will:
- transport residents and their pets to a "comfort station" in Roxborough for the duration of the implosion
- "take air-quality samples and record vibrations with a seismograph"
- tow any cars on the street
- clean the street after the implosion
- ready the neighborhood so residents can return by noon Saturday
Along with two official public meetings at Mt. Moriah (Aug. 28 and Sept. 4), city reps will be doing outreach in the weeks prior to alert people.
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