DAVENPORT

Vandalism prompts Blackhawk Foundry demolition

2012-12-03T20:53:00Z 2012-12-04T13:11:54Z Vandalism prompts Blackhawk Foundry demolitionKurt Allemeier The Quad-City Times
December 03, 2012 8:53 pm  • 

Frequent vandalization of the Blackhawk Foundry & Machine Co. property in west Davenport prompted the company overseeing it to have several buildings on the 7-acre property demolished.

The foundry was closed nearly three years ago. Since that time, property has been damaged, windows broken and squatters often stayed on the property, plus, a signficant amount of copper pipe was stolen, said Mike Wise of Turning Point Management Advisors, Minneapolis, Minn., which is overseeing the property.

The location at 323 S. Clark St. would be a good site for a storage facility, Wise said. Clearing off several of the buildings on the property will likely make it more marketable, he said.

“The buildings on it weren’t going to be functional for a new tenant without a significant investment on their part,” Wise said. “There is a multitude of potential uses for that land.”

The city issued a demolition permit Oct. 12. Kurt Levetzow, an environmental specialist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, investigated an asbestos complaint on the site on Oct. 24. Demolition was stopped to test for asbestos and to hire an abatement company.

Walls of the buildings on the property are comprised of a number of different sidings, from corregated metal to fiberglass to some that contained asbestos, Levetzow said.

The foundry was closed and its assets, but not the real estate, were purchased by Michigan-based Citation Corp. in 2009. Citation was absorbed by Grede Holdings LLC of Southfield, Mich., in February 2010.

Before closing, the foundry was responsible for emitting 90 percent of the particulate matter detected at a monitoring station at Hayes Elementary School, a few blocks away, according to the Iowa DNR. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency set an attainment standard of 35 micrograms per cubic meter of air that went into effect in 2009 across the nation, down from the previous standard of 65 micrograms per cubic meter of air.

“When they did that, we went from not having a concern for (particulate matter) to having several areas in the state coming close to that,” said Jim McGraw, environmental program supervisor for the DNR air quality bureau. “That led us to Blackhawk Foundry and coming up with a plan. They didn’t shut down because of the air-quality plan.”

The company closed because of recessionary issues, Jim Grafton, who was president of the foundry, said in 2009.

Air-quality standards are measured over a three-year period, and the monitoring station is hovering at 31 micrograms per cubic meter of air.

“As we get rid of the years that include the Blackhawk Foundry, we’ll see the number improve,” McGraw said. “It has made a difference at that monitor, and it is adjacent to the facility so there is a bit of a correlation.”

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