SPRINGFIELD - The long vacant an blighted building on Berkeley Street in the McKnight neighborhood was being demolished Wednesday by court order after being declared a public safety hazard by the city.

Associated Building Wreckers of Springfield was hired by the city for the demolition task and for the removal of the asbestos-contaminated waste at the site at 43-45 Berkeley St., the city announced. Environmental monitors were slated to be at the site throughout the demolition work and removal of the debris.

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno said the latest demolition continues the city's "fight against blight" in neighborhoods.

Last Wednesday, the city similarly demolished a long-blighted house at 151 Cedar St., in Sixteen Acres, also with a court order from the Western Division Housing Court.

The asbestos abatement and demolition at 43-45 Berkeley St., cost $58,450, from the city's demolition bond funds. The city expects to place a lien on the property to offset some of the costs.

The Berkeley Street property was declared structurally unsound and a public safety threat by the city's Building Department.

Typically, asbestos abatement occurs prior to demolition, but the state Department of Environmental Protection allowed for demolition to occur with monitored removal of the asbestos-contaminated waste materials, city officials said.

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