For decades, Paul Gambill has watched the former Quin-T Paper Manufacturer building fall into a state of decay.

“This has been 20 years coming,” said Gambill. “Not only is it an eyesore, it's a safety factor.”

Built in 1885, the property at one point was made up of 12 buildings and a smokestack.

Over the years, multiple fires have reduced the site to just one building.

"Squatters have been living there, homeless have been living there,” said Gambill. “There's been several deaths. Folks have just died on the property."

After a year of remediation, the Erie County Redevelopment Authority is ready to tear the building down.

ECRDA CEO Tina Mengine says the entire building was filled with asbestos, creating significant health concerns.

"We had no idea of the magnitude of the remediation that would be needed,” said Mengine. “Taking this blight down from a health perspective as well as being able to put this property back in productive use is really important.”

Crews filled 23 dumpsters with contaminated material, and removed a large amount of chemicals and debris from the structure.

Reclaim Construction out of West Virginia, will now dismantle the building and smokestack.

“It'll come back in productive use in some form,” said Mengine. “Neighbors would love to see a park, we've had interest from a school, from a local business, so I'm not sure what its final use will be, but it will be back in productive use and it will be better than it is today. I guarantee that."

The demolition work will cost $1 million and is expected to take three months to complete.

This story is supported by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.