Councilman: Drewrys Brewry neglect consistent with lack of investment west of river

(Photo supplied/City of South Bend)

As the City of South Bend begins preparing the former Drewrys Brewry site for cleanup of asbestos, the City Councilman who represents the area in South Bend says the situation never should have come to this in the first place.

The following statement was released by Councilman Henry Davis Jr:

Although I am pleased that the Drewry’s Brewery property will be cleared in the 2023, any joy that I have is tempered by the fact that the citizens of the Northwest side had to live in the shadow of a property that was an economic burden and a safety hazard. Quite simply, it is hard to imagine that this situation would have been allowed to fester for more than 50 years had this property been in any other part of our city.

We will never know how many economic development opportunities passed this neighborhood by because the multiple city administrations had no plan to develop the property, no plan to hold multiple absentee owners of the property accountable and no plan to deal with the myriad of health and safety hazards that those living near the Drewrys property were exposed to.

However, that WE that has long plagued neighborhoods located west of the river. The mayor has shown a lack of concern for residents who live in challenging situations. Over the past two years, we have been discussing environmental justice and racism and we keep hearing the mayor say that we are growing, and everything is fine.

The country has a history of exposing poor and people of color to some of the most inhumane treatment while suggesting nothing is wrong. I beg to differ and call foul on the actions of this Mayor and his administration. The members of this community deserve to live in safe and accommodating environment.

Mediocrity cannot be our goal and development can no longer be an afterthought. The citizens of this community deserve so much more. Grandstanding on rubble that residents and children see every day is inappropriate and insensitive to the pain people in this neighborhood deal with daily.

In the coming weeks, the City will install a new fence on the northern portion of the site and remediate asbestos debris on or near the sidewalk. In the spring or summer, the EPA will remove the remaining asbestos from within the existing buildings and the demolition debris. The EPA will also assess the potential need for removal of underground storage tanks at the site

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Charles U Farley December 12, 2022 at 8:29 pm

Well, duh. Who wants to invest in a crime ridden blight zone that is Sough Bend West of the river? Not a good spot to set up shop. Any investment of dollars there is money down the drain, which is why only the City is silly enough to do it… After all, it’s not like the politicians are spending their own money, so who cares?

The more the rabble rousing Henry Davis Junior screeches about “environmental justice and racism” the more I know that he has no plan, only rhetoric copied from his national party. Unfortunately for him (and his constituents), dealing with these problems is going to take some genuine introspection to find the cause, intellectual honesty to admit it, and a marked change in behavior in order to make that area worth any private investment at all. Sadly, I don’t see it happening, and so the cycle continues.

The neighborhood isn’t run down because of lack of investment, the investment is going elsewhere because of the neighborhood.

Adam December 12, 2022 at 11:54 pm

Unfortunately the majority of people in this neighborhood don’t vote in the city elections. The few people who do vote in the city will re-elect James Mueller, the guy Pete Buttigieg installed before he left. Business as usual by the power who control the river Bend City.

Benny Roseland December 13, 2022 at 8:27 am

I used to live on the West Side of South Bend. The closest Henry Davis Jr. ever came to the neighborhood is when he was driving drunk in the wrong direction on the US-20 bypass.

M A Jentz December 13, 2022 at 8:36 am

Well said Charles! Nobody is going to move into the neighborhood if the crime rate is high. I also don’t believe that this is based on race. It doesn’t matter to most people what color a criminal is, just that they are a criminal!

Adam December 13, 2022 at 11:10 pm

It’s sad that the original Martin’s Supermarket opened down the street on the corner. It’s been closed for several years now and is empty. That was a safe and great neighborhood in the 1940s and 1950s. This is the time period parents raised their children to know right from wrong.


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