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Polk County debates safety of moving Boys and Girls Club next to controversial site

From News Channel 9: UPDATE: Some Polk County residents voiced opposition at Thursday night's commission meeting to the proposed site where the Bo

From News Channel 9: UPDATE: Some Polk County residents voiced opposition at Thursday night’s commission meeting to the proposed site where the Boys and Girls Club would be relocated to.


The proposed 16 acre site for the Boys and Girls Club sits next to Copperhill Industries, which has transported biosolids there in the past.


A resident who used to work on the property believes children should be no where near that site.


“There’s no way that I would want to see any of our children over there in the building that close to the old plant place,” Matt York says.


Thursday’s meeting brought heated conversations between commissioners and residents in the Copper Basin area.


Commissioner Samantha Trantham voiced her support for the concerned residents, saying…


“We got this off the EPA website. It clearly states that the site is not ready for anticipated years.”


However, Polk County Executive Robby Hatcher told us earlier Thursday that the 16 acres of land has never been used for Biosolids.


“We’ve got phase one, phase 2. We’ve had the studies. We’ve done it. We’re getting approval from the state, from the EPA, everywhere that we’ve got in this binder right here of everything we’ve done. If you don’t like the results from the state, you need to take it up with the state,” Commissioner Kelley Morgan says.


But Trantham argued that there are concerns other than biosolids to consider.


“There is Asbestos in it, there’s lead paint, multiple areas of that building that are not fit for having kids in it,” Trantham says.


Derek Kinsey, a member of the Boys and Girls Club, spoke to those with concerns directly.


“There’s no way no way I or anybody in our organization would put anybody in harms way.”


Polk County recently received a grant to relocate their local Boys and Girls Club.


But some community members are sharing concerns about the proposed location for the facility, which would be right next to a biosolid dumping site.


Image: NewsChannel 9 SkyView.

Image: NewsChannel 9 SkyView.

Polk County commissioners are considering a plan that would put the new building off Ocoee Street.


But that piece of land is right next to the Copperhill Industries site.


Image: WTVC

Image: WTVC

We’ve done several stories on Copperhill Industries, which has used biosolids to bring vegetation back to an old mining site.


The use of biosolids there is now on hold, after several community protests.


“I think it’s just a matter of defending our kids,” Stan Hurder says.


Copperhill industries brought in biosolids to help bring back vegetation on mining land.


But the smell caused neighbors to speak out against the project.


Now, with the proposed 16 acre site of the Boys and Girls Club sitting next to Copperhill Industries, residents worry about safety.


Image: NewsChannel 9 SkyView.

Image: NewsChannel 9 SkyView.

However, Polk County executive Robby Hatcher claims that site has not ever been used for biosolids.


“It’s already on the ground, and who knows what shape it’s in, right?” Hurder says.


Hurder has lived in the area for 11 years, and spent 4 years working with the Boys and Girls Club of the Ocoee region.


“It’s a great, great program. But I hope they find a safer, healthier location.”


His worries come from this recent TDEC report…


The report found violations of PH levels of the biosolids at Copperhill. Those were tested in November and December of 2023.


At the time, the company that transported the biosolids, Danali water solutions, told us the program…


“Has been a great success and has restored vegetation on hundreds of acres for the benefit of wildlife and water quality.”


We reached out to TDEC for the current status. A spokesperson told us


“According to the property owner, the biosolids delivery and spreading has not resumed and as of now, there is no intention of the project starting up again.”


One county commissioner, Samantha Trantham, wants to change the proposed Boys and Girls Club site with a resolution at Thursday night’s meeting. She says…


“There are plenty of alternatives to place a Boys and Girls Club that do not have any of these factors, which should be automatically disqualifying, but for some reason are being looked over.”

We will have a crew at Thursday night’s commission meeting in Polk County.