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Demolition begins on former packing plant
April 03, 2014 Jerry Purvis   

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Photo by Kay Grote/Gering Citizen - Demolition crews were at work last week removing asbestos from the former Swift/Packerland meat packing plant at 10th Street and Country Club Road in Gering. Work continues to remove windows before the structure is completely demolished.

Work has begun to bring down the former Swift/Packerland meatpacking plant at 10th Street and Country Club Road in Gering.

Gering had applied for a Brownfield Grant to identify any environmental hazards in the plant, which has stood empty for almost a decade. However, grant funding is always uncertain and the building’s condition had become a concern.

Some asbestos removal had occurred about 2008 and demolition had been scheduled. But the City of Gering wanted to double check for remaining asbestos, contaminated soil and other hazards. “We had to be careful that no asbestos was going into the landfill,” said Gering City Engineer Paul Snarr. “So we ordered some additional testing. They did find some more asbestos and got it removed.”

Snarr said the owners were more willing to promptly demolish the building after the portion of the roof collapsed. “That got letters going back and forth between the city and the owners,” he said. “We told them it was an unsafe structure and needed to come down.”

He added the owners have been great to work with and have been more than obliging to get the project done soon. Demolition work has already started and the property should be cleared by mid-May.

The current zoning for the property is heavy manufacturing. The city council has discussed changing the zoning along the 10th Street corridor to allow for commercial and retail, making it more compatible with the downtown area.

There has been some interest from potential businesses for the property, but most businesses want clear land on which to build.

“When buildings like this are taken down, all the concrete foundations are removed,” Snarr said. “The land and any basements are compacted up to about 98 percent compaction so a new business coming in doesn’t have to worry about the structure that used to be there.”
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