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