Parents raise concerns over NGA site rubble creating respiratory problems for kids

ST. LOUIS - Health concerns over the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency construction site.

Some worried parents whose kids attend schools at Gateway complex on N. Jefferson Avenue tell Fox 2 that debris from the demolition rubble is hurting their kids.

Megan Betts of North City said that her daughter had asthma as a baby but never once had to use an inhaler.

She said that within the past year when the 9-year-old started attending Gateway Elementary school she began noticing a change in her respiratory health.

“In December and January, she had to go down to the school nurse for her rescue inhaler,” she said, “her doctor last month prescribed her with a daily inhaler now and also Flonase.”

The mother claims it’s because of the mounds of concrete rubble that sits in several piles adjacent to the school’s parking lot.

“When they did that, all the dust was flying out to where the kids are going to school and onto the teacher’s cars,” said Betts, “and parents and teachers saw an increase in asthma issues around the time that this stuff started coming over to the area.”

Fox 2 reached out to Jeff Kolb, Vice President of the demolition company, Kolb Grading.

Kolb said that as soon as the first complaint was received back in February the company halted all hauling.

He added that the company met with parents and told them that they will delay the processing of the concrete materials until school lets out for the summer in late June.

Kolb went on to say that the company even installed air monitors a month ago. He assures that there is no concern for dust flying into the air.

“The issue is that there is summer school also,” said Betts, “so they have literally five days before summer school starts, but we still did not get a clear answer if they would accommodate that.”

John Parker with the St. Louis Development Corporation said that the city sympathizes with parents who are concerned but their worries were addressed months ago.

“We have the air quality reports, we have precipitation reports we have every report that you need to verify this but this is a non-issue,” Parker said.

“We’ve addressed everything at this point that we are supposed to address, the dumping of that material is between the construction company and the private ownership.”

But Betts said she disagrees.

“The piles are still there, they are still going to crush this stuff and there’s going to be dirt,” she said, “if the wind picks up and the kids step out of school it’ll be in their face, so it’s not taken care of.”

Betts went on to say that St. Louis Public Schools has not addressed this issue with parents.

Fox 2 reached out to the district for a comment but have yet to receive a response.