Residents in and around B Street in Carlisle are growing impatient with Carlisle Events and have expressed anger over the delay in the clearing of the mountains of debris still remaining from the fire that tore through the old Masland-Lear Corp. carpet plant in May.
“I’d like to see this done. I’d like it moved along,” said resident John Mixell, who stood outside his home Wednesday shaking his head over what is now an eyesore for his neighborhood.
Melted siding, a result of the blaze, was still prominent on Mixell’s home Wednesday.
His insurance company has provided the necessary cash to repair the damage, but Mixell wants to wait until Carlisle Events completes clean up of the plant, he said.
Carlisle Events, who purchased the plant in 2010 and plan to build a hotel, residential homes, and other businesses there, said they are still assessing the plant, thus the delay in the cleanup.
“Some of the buildings that were beside the ones that caught on fire were also damaged. Because of that damage, we are in the process of evaluating the demolition of those structures,” Carlisle Events spokesman Michael Garland said.
However, residents said they have grown tired of seeing the mountains of broken bricks, burnt wood and metal and other debris, when they leave or return to their homes.
“The company is moving very slow to take care of the debris,” Sherry Miller said in an email to The Sentinel. “It looks bad, and it’s just a reminder for my father of what used to be there.”
Ken Mixell, a part-time security guard assigned to the plant, said clean up crews told him they had to leave to do a job in New Jersey and would be back “at some point.”
“They had been taking loads of debris out of here at one point, but stopped to go to Jersey,” said Mixell, who works for Hummelstown-based Capitol Security Agency.
“In the beginning, after the fire, we were told the clean up would take about 3 months,” he added. “But, now they’ve stopped talking about 3 months and haven’t communicated how long it’s going to take.”
Carlisle Events agreed with contractors that it would be most efficient to handle demolition and clean up at the same time, Garland said.
“As recently as Monday, the crew was working on clean up,” he said. “They were working here as a split crew and were called to join the rest of their team for a job in New Jersey. At this time, we do not know when they’ll be back. We fully expect, however, for a full team to return to work on the site as soon as we are able to progress with the demolition and clean up.
“Our hopes and intentions are to keep this process moving forward,” Garland added. “We continue to actively coordinate our efforts with the various entities involved.”
Earlier this month, it was announced that Carlisle Events had applied for up to $2.5 million in a state redevelopment assistance capital program grant, which officials said could be the last step in a process that will ultimately see a major reconstruction of the abandoned plant.
According to Garland, Carlisle Events plans to break ground next summer on a new hotel, restaurants, a retail center and high-end homes along and around the 48 acre property if the application for the grant — commonly referred to as RCAP — is approved by Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration.
“With or without the grant, the project will happen,” Garland said.