BOONEVILLE (KFSM) — Many people are fed up about deep standing water that’s been outside of the old ACE Comb Plant for years. They’re afraid it’s a public health concern.
“I just wish that it would be taken care of because it is a big concern,” resident Natalie Printz said.
People in town say the water has been sitting outside the old building for years. In 1955, it was a boost to the city’s economy with 200 employees. Now residents say it’s in disarray.
“My understanding is that the property was vacant for a very long time,” said city councilman Aaron Brewer. “There was no known responsibility for the land.”
Brewer said now the building is under new ownership. 5NEWS attempted to reach out to the owner on Tuesday (July 11), but we were not able to track him down.
“I would hope that the owners would step up and take action to make sure that the safety of the community is observed,” Brewer said.
Some residents say the stagnant water is not only an eyesore in the community, they also fear it’s a breeding ground for mosquito-borne diseases such as the Zika Virus.
“It's not even safe to breathe around there,” Printz said.
Councilman Brewer added, “As far as the mosquitoes are concerned, it's prime breeding ground for mosquitoes and any form of bacteria that grow in water.”
Ironically, the old building is neighbors with the Logan County Health Department. Because it’s on private property, there’s not much they can do, according to Meg Mirivel, a spokesperson for the Arkansas Department of Health. Mirivel said over the phone, no one in Logan County was authorized to speak with 5NEWS about the issue.
Brewer said an ordinance has been in effect since 1991 that a property owner can not have standing water on their property. Primarily this is for health concerns, he said.
“We're trying very hard in Booneville with these amendments to the ordinances to turn Boonevile around and make a more positive picture to the public whenever anyone comes through here,” Brewer said.
City leaders say you must make a formal complaint at Booneville City Hall in order for police to get involved and issue a citation for the stagnant water.