Commonwealth Journal

Local News

April 13, 2013

Ping target of mayor’s wrath?

(Continued)

Somerset —

Wiese said the city had been receiving calls from residents near the area where the old tobacco warehouse buildings once stood who were concerned about growing piles of dirt and gravel there. 
Wiese said road workers laboring on the Ky. 80 project appeared to have entered into an agreement with Ping to take leftover materials from the road project to the property, but she said documentation needed to carry that out had not been filed.
Somerset Building Inspector Wes Finley confirmed that, and Wiese said he spoke to Ping Thursday about the issue. 
On top of that, Wiese said the dirt and gravel piles were not fenced off, and there had been no erosion plan put in place. She and Girdler went to the site Friday morning and studied the area.
“The gravel pile is probably two stories high,” said Wiese. 
Children had reportedly been playing on the piles, which can destabilize quickly.
“It wouldn’t take much for that gravel to start toppling,” said Wiese.
Girdler evoked images of a tragedy in North Carolina, where two young children were killed earlier this week when a dirt wall toppled onto them while they were playing. 
“This is a safety and health issue,” said Girdler. “ ... We received neighborhood complaints and questions as to why the city would allow these to exist.”
Wiese said police officers simply helped out with their caution tape, and aided city workers in taping off the dirt and gravel piles to warn people of the danger “until they get in there and get it leveled out or whatever,” said Wiese. 
Wiese also said workers weren’t told to stop work on the site. She said they were asked not to add to the piles of dirt and gravel.
“We would’ve done the exact same thing on that piece of property, regardless of who owned it,” said Wiese. “ ... They were not told they couldn’t go on the property. All we told them was ‘don’t make the piles any higher until we deal with this.’”

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