Crumbling Southfield city properties warned about mold, bed bugs

- One of Detroit's biggest suburbs is facing some serious violations.

According to a letter from the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration dated Sept. 27, Southfield has until Thursday to investigate and address safety and health concerns here or the state could open an on-site investigation.

Crumbling stairs, mold spores inside a parking garage and bed bugs were spotted inside the treasurer's office. Those are just a few hazards outlined in a letter from MIOSHA to the city of Southfield.

"These are not just things that happened overnight or last year," says Pamela Gerald. "When you see rust, that's a long time coming. When you see mold and mildew, that's a long time coming."

Gerald is a longtime Southfield resident and member of a citizens watchdog group. She says some city employees have had to work at times in undesirable conditions, and there are safety concerns in the city's municipal complex. The safety concerns include concrete falling from an overpass, chewed up parking lots that have both craters and steel rods sticking up from the ground like weeds, and asbestos in the basement of City Hall.

"We're working through the list I assure you," says Mayor Ken Siver.

FOX 2: "When did the abatement process begin, because you received another letter from MIOSHA back in July." 

"The abatement process has been going on the last couple of weeks," Siver says.

The letter from MIOSHA says Southfield has 30 days to investigate the conditions and make any necessary corrections or modifications.

Siver says the problem is they have 17 city buildings, some of them pretty old and need a lot of work. He said there's simply not enough money to take care of the issues as quickly as they'd like.

"Unfortunately we've been shorted 40 percent of our state shared revenues and with the economic collapse of 2008, 2009, 2010, Southfield lost a third of its property value."

But concerned residents like Pam Gerald aren't buying it.

"I don't like the fact that we spent $2.4 million on Northland, $3.2 million to buy the lot across the street, when that's close to $6 million," she said. "This whole building could've been remediated."

"That is not general fund this is economic development funds that bought northland mall," Siver said. "We could turn this place into a palace and you could have an eyesore down the street with blight, dumping, graffiti and scrappers - and that's not acceptable."

Siver says there's no timeline for when all of the work will be done. As for the bedbugs he says that issue was addressed as soon as it came to light.


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