The Fayette Citizen-News Page
Friday, March 19, 1999
Businessmen receive awards for cleanup of abandoned industrial sites

Staff Writer

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Rehabilitation of industrial property is a thankless, expensive job, but three Peachtree City businessmen at least will have received the thanks of city officials for a "major cleanup" in the city's industrial park, says building official Tom Carty.

Jack Berry, Richard Bearden and Bob Vanecek were given "citizen achievement" awards last night at the City Council meeting, at Carty's request. They spent about $300,000 on a "huge trash challenge," Carty said, "and they deserve recognition for voluntarily being good neighbors."

Carty explained that the almost-28-acre property owned by the three was occupied by companies that went out of business, including Exposaic Concrete. Besides neglected, trash-filled buildings, Carty said, there were numerous places outdoors where "all kinds of trash was piled 10 or 12 feet high." Empty metal barrels were found, he said, but environmental testing of the site found no toxic residue from the waste material.

Berry and Bearden agree that the sheer volume of trash they paid to have hauled off was incredible. Berry estimated 200 dump-truck loads, but Bearden said, "Oh, more than that." Berry had said that "the loads were so many, that now every time I see a dump truck, I want to throw up." He jokes about the cost, but is proud of having the land almost ready for mini-storage warehouses. Bearden is rehabilitating two of the structures on the north side of the land, but one at the far south side had to be torn down, Berry said.

Carty had posted the old buildings as unsafe before the repairs and demolition, he said, "but I did not have to issue citations or do anything to force them to clean up this property. And I know they spent nearly $300,000. That kind of community spirit deserves our thanks, especially since this industrial park borders a residential area (Planterra Ridge)."

Berry hopes to recoup some of the cleanup costs with the mini-warehouses, which he says "should be put where people can't see them." The property is off Dividend Drive near Paschall Road, behind the offices of the aerial photography service Berry has operated in Peachtree City since 1973.

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