Plan to shut down mold-infested Urban Government Center faces de - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Plan to shut down mold-infested Urban Government Center faces delays

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The 2012 discovery of mold throughout a building that houses services for Louisville's poor resulted in the city's plan to shut it down by the end of 2014.

But that hasn't happened -- and now people are asking whether the Urban Government Center is safe for the public.

Wednesday's meeting of the Air Pollution Control Board seems like a head scratcher. It's in a building where some of the ceiling tiles bulge from a leaking roof, and brown and black dots line many of the air vents.

On the seventh floor of the Urban Government Center WDRB's camera captured an exposed ceiling. Behind a door, mold levels have been deemed too dangerous for workers, yet a few feet away, business continues as usual in the Jefferson County Coroner's Office.

Metro Government has been slow to act on the recommendation to close the facility. "We're going to move sometime, but nobody knows when" said Coroner Barbara Weakley-Jones. "But we (the Coroners and Medical Examiners offices on the 7th floor) have been tested," she added. "And apparently there are not high levels of mold in the areas where we are working."

The Coroner pushed to fix the facility instead of closing. The property on Barrett Avenue not far from Broadway houses Metro Louisville's community service departments and the cit's Low Income Energy Assistance Program or LIHEAP. Some of Louisville's poorest neighbors are served there and the fear is they'll have trouble with transportation to other parts of the city -- but with renovations estimated at $20 million, Metro Government opted to close the doors at the end of 2014.

"My hope was that the coroner's office would be able to move wherever the medical examiner's office went, but apparently there's not enough room in that facility." Weakley-Jones said.

Those kind of complications are what's causing the delay. Mayor Greg Fischer's Spokesman Chris Poynter said, "We were too aggressive on the time table." Poynter said the city is struggling to find adequate space for the 200 workers and a half-dozen departments.

UK's Ag Extension Office sits on the first floor of the Urban Government Center. Extension Associate Hayley Pierce said some relocation meetings have happened, and the extension office may be a tenant for the new Louisville Food Hub in the Shawnee neighborhood -- possibly sometime in 2016 or 2017. Poynter declined an on camera interview with WDRB on the mold problems at the Urban Government Center, citing pending litigation.

A handful of Metro Louisville employees are suing claiming to have gotten sick at work.

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