Flint, MI–The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced they will begin demolishing the former Brown’s Funeral Home on Flint’s east side next month.

The funeral home located at 1616 Davison Road was damaged in a fire last year. The Genesee County Land Bank, who owns the building, requested the EPA’s assistance to evaluate the site. 

According to a press release sent out by the EPA on March 23, the EPA determined it will be necessary to “secure the property to restrict public access to the site as part of the cleanup.”

The building was surveyed for asbestos in March 2019, and several sources of asbestos were identified, including around 11,000 square feet of textured ceiling surface covering, according to the page for the funeral home project on the EPA website.

“We’re demolishing Brown’s Funeral Home so Flint residents won’t need to worry about being exposed to asbestos,” said acting EPA Region 5 Administrator Cheryl Newton in the press release. “Getting this abandoned building out of the community will further help the people of Flint by setting the stage for returning the property to productive use.”

The EPA will demolish what is left of the building, and remove, transport, and dispose of materials containing asbestos contaminated waste at an approved facility. They will also monitor the air to protect the health of workers and the public, and follow COVID-19 safety protocols. 

Brown’s Funeral Home on Flint’s east side on March 23, 2021. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)

The work will begin in April, and is expected to take about three months taking place Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. According to the press release, once the cleanup is finished this summer, the Land Bank will evaluate the property for redevelopment opportunities. 

“In addition to helping to transform the Davison Rd, corridor and creating a new opportunity for redevelopment, this demolition will eliminate a hazard to surrounding residents and businesses,” said Genesee County Land Bank Executive Director Michael Freeman in the press release.

Freeman said the EPA is going to be paying for the demolition, which comes as a huge relief to the Land Bank, as they have struggled to secure enough funding to do all the demolitions that need to be done in the city. He said the Land Bank has estimated that the cost of the demolition could be over $600,000, but that there is more exploration to come, so it could be even more.

“The EPA has been phenomenal…and they’re doing it faster than we could have ever done it,” Freeman said. “So we really want to thank them.”

Amy Diaz is a journalist hailing from St. Petersburg, FL. She has written for multiple local newspapers in her hometown before becoming a full-time reporter for Flint Beat. When she’s not writing you...