BY MELANIE BUCK –
Mena City Hall will undergo a mold removal project in the coming weeks, costing the city more than $20,000 in removal costs and the purchase of a de-humidifier to keep mold from growing back.
City Hall has long had problems with moisture in the basement. The mold and some lead paint were found during an indoor quality assessment and both seem to be a relatively simple fix. Mena Mayor George McKee explained that the basement’s moisture is due to the building being around 100 years old and utilizing different building practices at the time it was constructed.
McKee said MSBI came in the spring and worked on the outside of the basement, digging around in problem areas and sealing the outside. ACCI will begin removing the mold and lead paint in December and are expected to wrap up the job by January. A commercial de-humidifier is being purchased as well to keep the humidity level below the recommended rate of 55%, keeping the mold from growing back. “We can’t really take care of it from the outside,” said McKee, “But, we can from the inside.”
Anything found inside that is covered in mold will have to be disposed of. “Some stuff we can throw away and some stuff can never be thrown away, we’ll have to wait until we can get into it to see what is worth keeping,” said McKee. The rest will be stored in plastic totes.
The actual cost of mold removal is estimated at $19,999 and the de-humidifier will cost just under $1,500. McKee said the funds will be taken out of their portion of the Special County Sales Tax.
A small portion of lead paint was also found upstairs and will be removed in a later project in 2017.