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Old United Way building's razing near final phase

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Demolition and cleanup of the old Community Services Building, which opened in 1969, is expected to be completed next month.

The Blade/Andy Morrison
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Wrecking crews were in the final stretch Wednesday of exterior demolition on the old Community Services Building in downtown Toledo.

By late afternoon, a steel girder frame was all that remained standing of the iconic, angular masonry structure that opened in 1969 and, until last fall, housed the United Way of Greater Toledo at One Stranahan Square.

A United Way spokesman said D & R Demolition and Removal of Archbold should finish the demolition project and site cleanup by the first week in October. Crews then will start making a community park from the cleared land at the corner of Jackson and Summit streets. "They know how to do their job and they're doing it well," spokesman Kelli Kreps said of the contractors.

The demolition work got a delayed start after workers found more asbestos in the six-floor, 100,000-square-foot building than was expected, Ms. Kreps said. Exterior demolition began the weekend of Sept. 4, just days before the kickoff of the United Way's annual fund-raising campaign.

The United Way cited the prohibitive cost of building renovation and maintenance in its decision to abandon the architectural landmark. Despite opposition from preservationists, Toledo's City Council and plan commission both voted this year to grant a demolition permit.

In October, the United Way moved into a new, smaller, energy-efficient headquarters on the same block. The $4.9 million building recently achieved the U.S. Green Building Council's Silver LEED certification for environmentally friendly construction.

Ms. Kreps said the cost for demolition was $165,000, with an additional $96,000 for asbestos removal. The United Way could not give a construction schedule for the new park, but restated its intent to someday sell the park land and apply the sale proceeds to its nonprofit mission.

Crews plan to crush the demolition debris on site with a crusher machine. The debris then will be recycled to produce fill for the former building's basement and pathways for the new park.

The United Way already has salvaged some of the old building's brown bricks, Ms. Kreps said.

Contact JC Reindl at:

jreindl@theblade.com

or 419-724-6065.

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