DETROIT (FOX 2) - A group of Detroiters is hoping to crush a concrete company's hopes of opening up a business in the city. Those who live and work near the prospective site say the dust and the noise would be too much.
The company behind this proposal says this will ultimately be a net positive for the region, but residents say if the city wants more people living in this area like they were decades ago—approving a concrete crushing facility will not help. So far, 200 people have signed a petition in opposition to the project.
Gladys Anderson has lived in the neighborhood since 1962.
"It’s like they want us out and it ain’t gonna be," she said.
Anderson, 83, is one of handful of Detroit’s core city neighborhood residents pushing back against efforts to turn the nearly five-acre property at Lawton and Buchanan into a concrete crushing facility.
"If we were in the middle of Bloomfield Hills or somewhere else, there would be no question, if we were going to have a pulverizing concrete facility in the middle of a residential area," said Chrystal Ridgeway.
Troy-based Provisions, LLC is requesting a change of use permit from the city to make it happen.
"Our houses are about 300 feet that way," said Vanessa Butterworth. "There’s absolutely no way that I’m not going to be breathing in that dust every day. My partner, my husband, my family, my neighbors."
Residents like Butterworth are concerned about inhaling concrete dust and it blanketing their homes as well as the noise that would come from the crushing process and increased traffic.
"They’re proposing to bring through 50 to 60 diesel dump trucks a day here without a proper route for the trucks to go," she said.
"I think this cleans up the City of Detroit: There’s a lot of demolition going on, on roads and bridges and things," said Murray Wikol. "And rather than putting it in landfills, what we’re offering the community - the greater community - is to reuse this, and save costs, time, and money, to repair the roads and infrastructure."
Wikol, the Provisions LLC CEO, says there’s only a couple handfuls of people living within 500 to 1000 feet of the proposed facility. On top of that, concrete crushing is highly regulated, and its mitigation efforts would make concerns about noise and dust, moot points.
"They spray the concrete with water on the way into the machine and it gets crushed and it gets crushed on the way out of the machine," he said. "And the water’s there and there’s not a lot of dust or noise."
People here don’t buy it.
"That water is going to mix with these hazardous chemicals in the concrete, go into our water go into the ground here, (and) go into the urban farm that’s right there," Butterworth said.
"It’s just going to make it harder for us to run our farm business," said Andy Chae, Fisheyes Farms. "If there’s concrete crusher in our neighborhood and people are questioning whether or not our food is safe because there could be concrete dust on the produce."
We have a statement from Detroit’s Building Department director which reads in part:
"We thoroughly examine all change of use requests for community impact and take into consideration the feedback we receive from residents in the area when making our decision. We can say that this project in particular has received a large amount of negative feedback."
The building department says it would not weigh in on the pros and cons of the project while they consider this proposal. they plan to decide on it in the next 30-45 days.
The complete statement from BSEED Director David Bell is below:
"The company has requested a change of use permit, seeking city approval to allow this property to change to an active concrete crushing facility. We are in the process of reviewing this request and don't want to discuss the pros and cons until we make a determination in the next 30-45 days. We thoroughly examine all change of use requests for community impact and take into consideration the feedback we receive from residents in the area when making our decision. We can say that this project in particular has received a large amount of negative feedback."