Abandoned Pasco meat packing plant's demo delayed

Abandoned Pasco meat packing plant's demo delayed »Play Video
PASCO, Wash. -- KEPR is continuing to follow a story we brought you almost a year ago. The old meat packing plant in Pasco was supposed to be gone by the end of the year.

But it's still there. And now Pasco has hit a snag in their efforts to remove it.

A quick look while driving by Pasco's Elm Street plant makes you wonder why this abandoned building wasn't torn down years ago.

"It's unsightly and not kept up, so consequently you say, 'What's going on?'" says Frank Pontarolo.

He owns property near the plant. He was thrilled last year when he heard Pasco would be tearing the plant down, but then contractors found asbestos.

Costs to remove it ballooned tenfold.

"We anticipated that the cost might be somewhere between $10,000 and $15,000. When we went out for bids, we were surprised to find out that the proposals received ranged from almost $130,000 to almost $250,000," says Pasco Planning Manager Rick White.

Pasco didn't just want to get rid of the eyesore - it also wanted to sell the land for new development.

And the plant had become a haven for people who were up to no good.

Code enforcement boarded up most of the doors and windows, which helped cut back substantially on the gang activity, but it's still very much just a canvas for graffiti.

Police say they haven't been called to the plant since it was boarded up.

But they still need to paint over the tags every few months.

They're still looking for a way to pay for the tear-down.

"Unfortunately, grants, both state and federal grants, exclude asbestos removal from the list of eligible activities," White added.

Frank says he wants the city to work harder on getting the old building demolished.

"Asbestos or not, they can get rid of it. It has to be gotten rid of," he says.

Representatives with Pasco say the next option is to try to change the law to allow for looser restrictions on federal and state grants that would allow buildings with asbestos to qualify.

Until then, the old plant on Elm Street isn't going anywhere.