EDITORIAL: The mess next door
It doesn’t appear any toxins are leaving the site of a partially demolished factory on North State Street in York City.
That would be good news for the health of the children who attend Alexander D. Goode School next door and of the residents who live near where Danskin made women’s clothing until the company left York in 2009.
However, the bad news is staring everyone in the face.
Two years after the York City Redevelopment Authority bought the property, these folks still live, work, study and play near a site that looks as if it took a direct hit from a large bomb.
We understand the RDA only stepped up in 2015 to clean up the mess left by the previous owner, who began the demolition process but then walked away before it was finished.
That was the right move.
But when is the cleanup going to begin?
It appears an environmental assessment was only recently completed, following an anonymous tip to the school district in February about a potential contamination problem at the site.
That March inspection found "no evidence of current or past air emissions from the property," according to the 58-page report by EHS Environmental Inc.
However, there are about 40,000 pounds of building debris and materials that likely contain asbestos at the site, and the company also found evidence of ground contamination near the northern border of the property.
EHS Environmental recommended further testing along the northern and southern borders of the property, but Shilvosky Buffaloe, acting director of the city's community and economic development department, which oversees the RDA, said tests show no toxic materials are leaving the site.
In April, the RDA hired contractors to install gated fencing around the entire property to deter further trespassing and dumping. The workers also laid a 500-foot silt sock along the western edge of the property to control water runoff at the site.
Already, however, sections of the fence are leaning at 45-degree angles and buckling under the weight of debris, while one section along the property boundary with the Goode School has a 3-feet-tall hole.
The silt sock installed in April has numerous holes in its lining, and a section of it is sitting in a horseshoe-shape away from the fence, leaving a gap nearly 10 feet wide.
“The silt sock, at best, was a temporary Band-Aid,” said David Moser, a city school board member who recently toured the perimeter of the site with a reporter. “The work wasn’t even completed on a temporary measure three months ago.”
Moser, who said he was speaking as a concerned resident and not as a school board member, called the property “disgusting” and “the 800-pound gorilla in the room.”
We understand the RDA wants to see a new, affordable housing complex at the site, and the city is seeking grants for the project, including the complete demolition of the Danskin factory.
That would be a great use, when and if it happens.
But residents have been living next to this disaster zone for years now and sending their kids to school right next door.
We suspect their patience is wearing thin.
When will they see some progress?