Originally Posted Online: July 23, 2012, 10:03 pm
Last Updated: July 23, 2012, 10:09 pm
Mold stands in way of Colona food pantry
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By Stephen Elliott, firstname.lastname@example.org
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Colona Ald. Mike King, 3rd Ward, stands next to a wall covered with mold at the former Church of God, 617 8th St. The city purchased the vacant church earlier this year and plans on using it as a food pantry to replace the current one at the police station.
A Colona alderman wants mold professionally removed from a former church before the village uses it as a food pantry.
Ald. Mike King, 3rd Ward, said the city's intentions of providing a new food pantry for residents is a good idea. The problem, he said, is how the city is handling the designated site, the former Church of God, at 617 8th St., Colona.
In a prepared statement, Ald. King said he will not take part of something "that is going to put the health of our citizens and employees at risk." He also gave a copy of the Illinois Mold Remediation Act and a 54-page packet from the Environmental Protection Agency about mold remediation in schools and commercial buildings to Mayor Dan McDaniel and public works director Rick Crew .
In March, the city bought the church for $44,000, Ald. King said, with a committee formed in June to develop ideas for its use.
"The committee also stated the mold needed to be taken care of professionally," Ald. King said. "At the time the committee inspected the church, mold was on the walls, ceiling and ceiling fans."
Ald. King said he has contacted the Henry County Health Department and has been called by the Illinois Department of Labor after he filed a formal complaint. On Monday, he said he is resigning from the church committee.
On Monday afternoon, city workers in the church were spraying what Ald. King said was a chlorine substance on the walls to remove the mold.
"They're not wearing masks," he said, alluding to the workers. "You can't just paint over mold, especially when you want to put a food pantry there."
After Monday's meeting, Mayor McDaniel said he doesn't believe the mold is a major concern.
"If it does test bad, I'll go in there myself and cut it (drywall) off and replace it," he said. "I don't think we're going to have that issue."
Mayor McDaniel said mold spores on the wall are caused by humidity and the church being vacant in recent years. He added water pipes burst in the church, but Mr. Crew didn't believe damage reached into the sheetrock.
"If I thought it was a real risk or health hazard, I would have definitely had somebody in there to take care of it," Mayor McDaniel said. "I didn't see that."
In other business, Mayor McDaniel vetoed a city ordinance adopted by a 4-to-3 vote July 9 that would allow video gambling in Colona. The move would let the town's two businesses that serve alcohol apply for a video gambling license.
Ald. King, who was absent from the July 9 meeting, said Monday he supports video gambling in the city.
The mayor said he was concerned the second and third readings had been waived on the issue and that he wanted due process to take its course. The mayor said he wants to allow a second and third reading of the ordinance.
His concerns over video gambling tied back to the village's food pantry.
"The food pantry is overwhelmed right now," he said. "My concern is are they (residents) going to go into taverns and overextend themselves? Is that going to add more of a burden to our food pantry?
"I'm not 100 percent opposed," he added. "I just have concerns. The city of Colona can certainly use the revenue, but I'm not really buying this $100,000 or $200,000 (annual revenues), and we're (the city) going to get 5 percent of this."
The gambling ordinance will receive a second reading at the council's Aug. 13 meeting, Ald. King said.
In other business, the council approved buying a 2012 Dodge Durango for $38,360. The city will sell a 2006 Dodge Charger and 2004 Dodge Durango, with proceeds going to the city's vehicle replacement fund.