Thursday, September 15, 2016


News broke Wednesday that lead, VOC'S and methane have been found in Ypsilanti's Bell Kramer neighborhood. This according a September 14 article in the Ann Arbor News. I know the area well because I parked my car over there a few months ago while reporting on the homeland security/Secret Service raid of a gas station nearby. The residents I spoke to on that day were very friendly, warm, and welcoming."Do you mind if I park here?" I asked a Bell Kramer resident as I stepped out of my car that I had just parked in front of the residents home. "Sure, no problem", he said. The resident asked me if I knew what was going on with the big raid and all a half a block away. I remember speaking with several neighborhood residents that day, all of whom were exceptionally friendly.

Thursday I pulled onto Bell Street and parked my car in front of the same house, though this time for a very different reason. News broke Wednesday that the small neighborhood of modest well kept homes is contaminated with lead, VOC's and methane. I was hoping to see some of the residents I had spoken to several weeks ago during the gas station raid. I didn't see a soul Thursday working in their yard. The only word I can think of for this terrible mess is appalling. Word is, as stated in the Ann Arbor News, that an old landfill caused the contamination. How this can be is puzzling and troubling.

What is not puzzling however is how dangerous this contamination is. So what are VOC's? VOC's are volatile organic chemical contaminants. As far as lead, we know how dangerous lead is because of the Flint Water Crisis occurring in my hometown. Methane is the main component of natural gas.

According to an article in mlive September 14 there is now talk among Ypsilanti City Council of relocating residents. This begs the questions of where residents would be relocated and for how long. This is certainly the last thing residents in Ypsilanti's Bell Kramer Neighborhood want to deal with. What a nightmare. Ironically, the issue of relocating residents is not a new one of late in Ypsilanti. As reported in several recent Purple Walrus Press articles, there has been much talk about the possibility of relocating Senior and disabled residents of Towne Centre Place apartments in downtown Ypsilanti because of deplorable living conditions at the complex.

The summer of 2016 has spelled misery for many residents in Ypsilanti. Hopefully, the powers that be will truly address and improve living conditions for residents of the Bell Kramer Neighbor, and Towne Centre Place Apartments. We can do better than this.

Jeff Brown
Purple Walrus Press

Ypsilanti's Bell Kramer Neighborhood. Photo Purple Walrus Press.

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