Asbestos Found in Florida Building

When the owner of a store, known as Evans Grocery located in Melbourne, Florida, left the building to fall into despair, the community rose up and fought back to reclaim their beloved neighborhood cornerstone. When the citizens of Palm Bay saw that a building at 1361 Florida Ave was beginning to attract drugs and crime they, with the help of the city, made plans to raze the building. Instead of the haven of criminal activity and contraband a new nonprofit grocery store, youth job-training center, clinic, and community center would be built. The project is expected to cost $830,000, and upon completion will be renamed the Evans Center. Unfortunately, construction was scheduled to begin this past December, but has yet to begin. James Bartell, the president of the Evans Center board of directors, explained in a Florida Today article why the demolition is running late. According to Bartell, when the building was first inspected “asbestos and lead was found on the second floor apartments”. Demolishing the building without following the proper guidelines could prove to be dangerous, as asbestos fibers could become airborne, potentially risking the health of anyone within the vicinity of the demolition and construction. Proper asbestos abatement is critical in order to avoid these health hazards; therefore, until the city gives the go-ahead and proper abatement guidelines are met the demolition will have to wait. That doesn’t mean that the community and James have given up hope. “One way or another, we are going to do this.” Once construction starts James says that it should only take about one year to finish the Evans Center. In an attempt to expedite the process, fundraising for the Evans Center has begun. Bartell estimates that approximately $300,000 of the necessary $830,000 has been raised. Since Evans Center is in an “enterprise zone,” a district created under Florida law to encourage private investment in distressed areas, the community may donate money to the cause. Bartell notes that this “makes our organization eligible to receive monies” and adds to the Evans Center project. Bartell also states that Evans Center LLC is “putting in applications for grants right now” but the grant still has to go through the city attorney and go to the city council. Strong community involvement and the desire to see the project through in a proper manner make it likely that the correct funds will be raised and the Evans Center will eventually be completed. Reference:
  • Cervenka, Susanne. (April 25, 2012). “On the issues: Asbestos find stalls South Melbourne project.” Retrieved on April 27, 2012, from Florida Today.
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