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Y coming down

Park Board OKs funds to remove asbestos, alarm center

The discovery of more asbestos is adding to the bill to demolish the former downtown YMCA.

The Spokane Park Board voted Thursday to pay up to $80,000 to Rob’s Demolition to remove asbestos that was not included in the survey of asbestos provided to the city when it bought the building. The board also approved an additional $20,150 to tear down the city’s former fire alarm center, which borders the Y. Park Director Leroy Eadie said the total demolition of the Y and alarm center will cost about $750,000.

The Park Board set aside about $1.3 million from its reserves to cover the cost of demolition and restoration of the land. Eadie said there still should be enough to restore the parcel to a natural condition.

“We believe it is enough,” Eadie said. “We’ll just have to be careful not to put too many features in there that cost a lot of money.”

Park Board members said they were OK with paying for the demolition of the fire alarm center, even though the building was used by the Fire Department, because they are confident the land will be incorporated into Riverfront Park.

“We’re really doing a favor for the city,” said Park Board member Randy Cameron.

Eadie said a landscape architect is designing a concept for the land that will include three lookouts onto the falls. The public will get a chance to comment on the design when the park department applies for a shoreline substantial development permit.

A wrecking ball opened a gaping hole in the front and side of the former Y gym this week, starting the most visible work of the demolition.

Rob Carper, owner of Rob’s Demolition, said last month he didn’t expect to use a wrecking ball. Eadie said, however, that the Y was too tall for the company’s other equipment, so a wrecking ball will be used for the top portions of the building. Eadie said Rob’s does not plan to use a wrecking ball on the side facing Spokane Falls.

The cornerstone of the building has been saved and may be used as part of the landscaping to provide information about the land, Eadie said. Rig Riggins, president and CEO of the YMCA of the Inland Northwest, said the Y has asked the city to be on the lookout for a time capsule that was rumored to be placed within the structure. It hasn’t been found so far, Eadie said.

The Park Board agreed to pay $5.3 million for the former YMCA, which sits on the shore of Spokane Falls, in 2006 to prevent the construction of a condo tower in the middle of Riverfront Park. The Spokane County Commission agreed to pay $4.3 million of the cost using property taxes from the Conservation Futures program. The rest of the purchase price was covered by city park funds.