Removing An Eyesore

By R.G. Pickard | September 28, 2010

After hurricane Katrina, the city of Pascagoula, MS, purchased an 8-acre block of land that included the former Heinz Pet Food Factory along the Pascagoula riverfront. The city paid $1.5 million to Jackson County with funding from the Katrina Community Development Block Grant's Demolition & Environmental Remediation for the MDA/CDBG Riverfront Program. The city's goal is to revitalize the Pascagoula riverfront.

The city then rezoned the riverfront area to allow mixed-use commercial and residential development, and began planning the infrastructure for future development of the area. Bidding for demolitions began in August 2008.

The city of Pascagoula hired Compton Engineering, Inc. of Pascagoula as the city engineers to plan the demolition packages that were put up for bidding. Once the city planners decide exactly what they want in concept, Compton Engineering will design the infrastructure, including the mechanical, electrical, water, and sewer needs for the area, as well as design the roadway improvements, the future riverwalk and riverfront bulkheads, and parking areas.

In the meantime, the site is being cleared of its former structures. The Heinz Pet Food Factory on Pascagoula's riverfront was long overdue for demolition. It was shut down in 1994, and rapidly deteriorated to the point where it became an eyesore to the local community while impeding development in the Pascagoula riverfront area.

First Response, Inc., of Nashville, TN, performed the hazardous material removal from the Heinz site. First Response project manager Robert Grant said, "We did the preparation work for the demolition, removing and disposing of the hazardous materials. Almost all of it was normal asbestos remediation."

Actual demolition of the Heinz Pet Food Factory is being conducted by Steve Herrington and Terry Vice of H&H Enterprises, LLC, of Biloxi, MS. Demolition on the site began in January 2009.

Originally, there were two buildings on the Heinz site; one was approximately 170,000 square feet and the other was approximately 68,000 square feet. Both buildings were factory/warehouse-type structures with 18-foot ceilings.

H&H's Steve Herrington said, "We're using conventional methods to tear down the buildings, mostly employing excavators and large track hoes. We're mostly using a 400 Kobelco and a 330 Kobelco, and we also had to take down some elevated tanks with a small crane."

Herrington also added, "We're doing a lot of recycling on site, crushing all the concrete for resale and salvaging as much metal as possible to sell later. Our goal is always to minimize the amount of materials that have to be disposed of, because in this business, any waste cuts into the profit margin. The more material you can salvage and recycle, the more money you'll save on expenses."

Demolition work in the Pascagoula riverfront area is not yet complete, and more demolition contracts have been awarded recently for future demolitions through the city's purchasing agent. Once demolition, conceptual planning and engineering plans are completed, a master developer will be selected for the project.

Several acres along the Pascagoula riverfront will be improved using additional MDA grant funding, with the master plan calling for major development, including construction of hotels, shopping areas, restaurants, and condominiums, in addition to the riverwalk and streetscape project.