The topic of a factory’s demolition reportedly sparked a heated exchange at a Board of Supervisors meeting in Leakesville, Mississippi.
According to television station WKRG, the meeting discussed a complaint that the demolition of a structure dubbed the “old factory building” threatened the safety of children who attend school about a quarter-mile walk from the facility.
Retired environmental scientist Richard Ball reportedly raised concerns about dust from the demolition containing lead paint and blowing onto the school’s campus during asbestos removal. WKRG added that Ball said he would request an OSHA investigation.
Pickering Firm Project Manager Marty Cooke, a contractor hired to oversee the demolition, claims the firm sends daily samples to an independent lab to prevent hazardous emissions from asbestos removal. However, Cooke reportedly added that the firm does not test for lead levels since operations at the site allegedly do not release lead paint particles.
WKRG documented Ball recommending that the demolition be stopped and saying, “If you don’t care about the kids, keep doing it.”
An argument regarding the levels of concern for the students followed and reportedly included raised voices, accusations, crosstalk and a supervisor removing himself from the meeting room.
The “Old Factory,” which housed garment and guitar manufacturing, opened in 1946 and saw its last tenant evicted in 2009. Possible uses since the eviction included a skilled trades training facility for homeless veterans, a Habitat for Humanity ReStore and a juvenile detention center.
The demolition process is expected to cost $600,000.