Cleanup delayed for asbestos-ridden site in South Bend

NOW: Cleanup delayed for asbestos-ridden site in South Bend

 SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- The ongoing argument to clean up the former Drewerys Brewery site located on the Northwest side of South Bend came to a standstill after the City of South Bend rejected a bid to get rid of the debris.

The business has been shut down for decades, but the city says asbestos found at the property is posing health risks for those living nearby.

Despite that risk, the City of South Bend turned down the proposal. However, city officials agreed something must be done to ensure the safety of neighbors and children.

“We don’t want it to get airborne or anything like that,” said Marlaina Johns, Deputy Director of South Bend Code Enforcement. “For environmental clean-up, we don’t want any children to find a way through the fence because kids are kids,” explained Johns.

Steve Durkee, Arizona-based property owner, worried the city is playing games and just wants him to pay money.

“We’ve got you to spend money, now we want you to continue going…otherwise we’re going to take this site away from you,” worried Durkee.

Durkee understood a difference in opinion weighs in on the future of the city, but said his vision for the property is to make the community a better place.

“And there’s people from the community who say listen—this is just not right,” said Durkee. “We need this kind of platform, we need job creation, we need opportunity,” said Durkee.

Johns agreed that Durkee’s vision could benefit the community, but ultimately the number one concern is just to keep the area safe. 

“He has some good plans for the site with the remaining structures,” said Johns. “We would love to see those come to fruition so our goal is really just to get the neighborhood safe for the residents,” said Johns.

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