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City of Columbia expects to demolish building at Broadway, Providence in at least 30 days

The Columbia City Council purchased a building located at 32 South Providence Road for $1.1 million in October 2016, with plans of extending the Flat Branch Park.

Purchasing the land was the first step to creating Founder’s Park, which is the working name for it.

The next big step happened one week ago, when David Nichols, with Columbia Public Works, sent in an application for a demolition permit.

The building is more than 50 years old, which means the Historical Preservation Commission must be notified and given 30 days to voice any concerns about the demolition.

Patricia Fowler, a Historical Preservation commissioner, said the commission does not have any concerns about the demolition, mainly because the plans for the land will be a “great addition to Flat Branch Park.”

Fowler said the commission will want to go inside the building before it’s demolished to collect any historical items or architecture that may be of historic value, and sell them at the Salvage Barn.

ABC 17 News reported in February that before the building comes down, the city’s Parks and Recreation Department will need to remove asbestos and properly dispose of painted walls that have high levels of metal.

Gabe Huffington, Columbia Parks and Recreation service manager, said the total cost for removal of asbestos will be $8,700. He said removing the asbestos and other hazardous materials will be done within the next few weeks.

Asbestos is most dangerous when it’s worn or damaged, such as in a 50-year-old building, and fibers can flake off, becoming airborne, according to the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.

Asbestos is a known as a carcinogen, so protective gear to remove the material is necessary to help prevent someone inhaling the fibers and possibly develop serious asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma, the MCA said.

Huffington said there still isn’t a concrete timeline set for the creation of the park, but according to the preliminary plans, the city is moving forward on time.

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