SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – A community meeting was held Tuesday night to hear concerns about a possible development on the south side of Spartanburg.

The former Pepsi facility on South Church Street has been vacant since 2021, when it closed after being in operation for multiple decades. While nothing is set in stone, city leaders wanted to hear community concerns about possible redevelopment for the facility.

“The buildings on the site would be demolished, there would be a significant amount of environmental testing to ensure that there are no issues of that nature,” said Spartanburg City Manager, Chris Story.

Some community members are concerned about possible contamination.

“No matter how hard we’ve got to fight it, we’re going to fight it and we’re going to keep bringing up environmental concerns, because we do have a lot of health disparities on the south side,” said Toni Sutton, who attended the meeting.

Another concern amongst some of the community is the site has been contaminated for years.

“We just don’t want a manufacturing company that’s going to come smack dab in the middle of our community and bring more contamination,” said Sutton.

Some who spoke out say they would rather see affordable housing go in the area.

All concerns, questions and comments were addressed during the community meeting.

For testing, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control would partner with an unnamed company that would buy the property and complete a Voluntary Cleanup Contract, or VCC.

The city manager said this testing is common with buildings as old as the former plant.

DHEC said past use of the facility may have damaged the environment.

“We don’t believe there is anything that would be a threat to human health,” said Story.

If the plan moves forward, the company buying the site would test the soil and groundwater, but would not be held responsible for any pre-existing pollution found.

“Nobody should be their own police, especially when it comes to public safety and health, when it comes to the health of our young people, when it comes to the health of our community,” said James A. Jones, who attended the meeting. “Black lives matter and that is a predominately Black community, we have to do it better than that.”

If any contamination is found, there are required steps taken to ensure public health and safety.

DHEC stated any company that buys the 6.3 acres will be responsible for keeping the property safe for re-use.

People can provide feedback to DHEC until May 17, to do that, you can write, email or call comments by emailing: calling (803) 898-0736 or the TOLL-FREE number (866) 576-3432.

Any written comments should be directed to Mark Berenbrok at SCDHEC, 2600 Bull Street, Columbia, SC, 29201