By DAVID BORAKS
Residents from Davidson’s West Side have scheduled a neighborhood meeting tonight (Friday) to discuss concerns about asbestos and the proposed development of the Metrolina Warehouse. A Raleigh developer is considering a residential and commercial development at the 5½-acre site, which is surrounded by Depot, Sloan and Eden Streets and next to the site of the proposed Davidson commuter rail station on Jackson Street.
The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Senior Nutrition Center cafeteria, behind the Ada Jenkins Center, 212 Gamble St.
Meeting organizers delivered fliers this week both on the West Side and in some other town neighborhoods. The fliers read: “ATTENTION! All Davidson Residents. Do you know the danger of asbestos?”
The flier does not name the organizers, but says: “This meeting is being sponsored by a group of citizens with concerns about the development of the old asbestos mill and a dump located on Eden Street in Davidson, N.C. This meeting is urgent and your concerns are vital.”
Community leaders on the West Side are apparently behind the meeting. Longtime resident and neighborhood leader The Rev. Dora Dubose reserved the Ada Jenkins cafeteria, according to the person who handles scheduling there.
The Rev. Dubose could not be reached before Friday’s meeting.
DEVELOPER SPEAKS TO RESIDENTS
Developer GreenHawk Partners LLC, of Raleigh, has an option to buy the Metrolina Warehouse site from its current owner, Seattle-based real estate investment group Metrolina Warehouse LLC. GreenHawk, which specializes in developments near mass-transit lines, is considering a project that could include homes, offices, shops, and or restaurants.
The project was unveiled to citizens at a planning workshop in July. There, residents and nearby property owners raised a variety of concerns. Some worried that asbestos buried on the site could be disrupted during construction. Others raised old complaints about unidentified runoff from the site and neighborhood health problems they said are related to its former use as an asbestos factory. (The site also was once the Linden Cotton Mill.)
In response to those concerns, GreenHawk representative Brian Goray held a neighborhood meeting of his own on Sept. 18, which included an environmental engineer and a cleanup expert.
“It gave people a chance to ask questions,” Mr. Goray said Friday. “I thought we had good dialogue.”
At the July workshop, the developer and town officials said there was asbestos buried on the Sloan Street side of the site, but a previous owner had encapsulated it according to federal environmental standards, and that it had been certified as safe.
As GreenHawk considers how to develop the property, it faces two options: Either leave the asbestos undisturbed, or remove it. He said he is willing to consider all options, though “from my perspective, I would want to remove it completely. The safest thing to do is to remove it completely.”
Town officials contacted Thursday and Friday were unaware of plans for tonight’s neighborhood meeting.
Contact David Boraks at email@example.com.
Flier distributed in Davidson neighborhoods to promote Friday, Oct. 3 meeting, CLICK HERE>
July 25, 2008, “Would warehouse project link West Side, downtown?”
June 20, 2008, “Developer eyes warehouse for mixed-use project.”