Sen. Blunt aims to demolish former Bannister Federal Complex

Posted at 3:22 PM, Feb 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-02 20:23:26-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) visited the Bannister Federal Complex in South Kansas City to discuss beginning the process of tearing it down and cleaning it up.

The Bannister Federal Complex in South Kansas City has been sitting idle for six years. Former workers and some neighbors filed lawsuits in the past alleging that the Bannister Complex had toxins that made them sick. 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the facility was used for a variety of things over the years, some of which resulted in the release of toxic chemicals into the environment.

Blunt helped get federal funding to clean-up the site and have it torn down so a private developer can build a new facility to create jobs in the area. Blunt toured the facility on Friday and was briefed on the clean-up process.

"We ought to be thinking right now about what are our opportunities and where do we want to be 10 years from now and this particular site is one of a number of places in Missouri that can really be an important hub," said Blunt. 

More than $225 million in federal funding will be used to clean up the site. The federal government gave the Bannister Federal Complex to the Bannister Transformation Redevelopment group. 

Once the buildings and toxins are removed from the site, Developer Kevin Breslin explained that his group will build a new project with the potential to hire 1,000 workers.  

Maurice Copeland worked at the Bannister Federal Complex for 32 years. He is concerned that the $225 million will not be sufficient to truly remove the toxic chemicals. 

"How are you going to clean that place up for $275 million when the United States government along with all of its agencies estimated it at $800 [million] to $1 billion dollars or more," said Copeland.

The project manager is promising to carefully and safely remove the toxins. Monitors at the site will check the safety of the water and soil and warn workers if levels are dangerous. A process is also in place to warn neighbors if there is a concern. Inspectors from the federal government, Missouri and Kansas City will be also be watching.

"We've taken all the safety precautions to protect our workers, to protect the community, to make sure that this activity, which is intended to revitalize the property, is done safely and in a protected fashion," said Breslin.

The developer estimated that it will take four years to clean-up and remove the buildings from the Bannister Federal Complex.