Flint officials lay out plans for implosion of Genesee Towers - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Flint officials lay out plans for implosion of Genesee Towers

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FLINT (WJRT) -

(12/19/13) - Flint officials have laid out their plans for Sunday's implosion of Genesee Towers.

Dozens of police officers will be on hand, keeping a close eye on the perimeter that will be set Sunday.

"Once we have the building's secured, they will be secured so no one else can enter. We are in contact with the blast team. If anybody breaks the perimeter, we'll be able to stop the count," said Flint Police Chief James Tolbert.

Forty-eight employees from the Department of Public Works will also be ready in case there's a problem with any pipelines or utility lines.

"We'll have multiple utility vehicles from the city. There will be vehicles from Consumers Energy. We're looking at where the worst possible case could occur. We're looking at the gas lines, the streets, the infrastructure. We're prepared as first responders to go right in and deal with those circumstances," said Howard Croft, Flint Department of Public Works director.

A large portion of downtown Flint will be evacuated in anticipation of the implosion at 10 a.m.

"This evacuation will take place between 7 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. and follows federal safety guidelines," said Darnell Earley, Flint emergency manager.

St. Paul's Episcopal is on Saginaw Street and sits just south of the evacuation perimeter. They will not be holding services on Sunday.

"The plan for Sunday morning is for me to be somewhere else for church," said Rev. Barbara Cavin, St. Pauls Episcopal Church priest in charge.

Rev. Cavin is philosophical on how the planned implosion will affect her church. With all the roadblocks and detours planned downtown, she says it just makes sense to cancel services.

"It will be difficult for people to get to church and more difficult to get away," she said.

With Christmas so close, people are invited to attend the 7 p.m. service Saturday. Rev. Cavin says she's not too worried about possible damage to the 140-year-old church building.

"I'm most concerned about the Tiffany window that is closest to the implosion, though I've been assured definitely there won't be any problem and that's my hope," she said.

There is a layer of plastic over one window and two other Tiffany windows on the other side of the building, but that would offer little protection from flying debris.

"They're beautiful, they're irreplaceable," Cavin said.

Another concern - the church has a organ that is powered by an air pump in the basement. If dust from the implosion got in the pump, it would create big problems.

"Three days before Christmas, that's not a lot of time to clean it all out," Cavin said.

Two other churches near St Pauls Episcopal are not changing their Sunday routine. First Presbyterian and St Matthews both tell us services will be held at their regular times.
First Presbyterian pastors say Christmas week is one of the most important on the church calendar.

The city isn't saying how much all the protection will cost, but it will send the bill to the Uptown Reinvestment Corporation, which owns Genesee Towers.

"There will be no expenditures for the city. The whole cost for the city will be covered by Uptown Reinvestment Corporation," Croft said.

After the implosion, inspectors will examine the site and determine when it's safe for the public to return to downtown. If all goes well, life in Flint will return to normal by the afternoon.

For a map of the Perimeter Prohibited Impact Zone, click HERE.

For a detour map, click HERE.

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