Pantego Creek assesses mold, asbestos issues

Published 7:42 pm Thursday, April 21, 2016

BELHAVEN — The fate of Belhaven’s hospital continues to be a matter of contention, as fears of its demolition mount.

Pantego Creek LLC, which owns the hospital property, called in Terracon, a consulting engineering firm, on Thursday to assess mold and asbestos issues. Terracon offers services for environmental site assessment and geotechnical evaluation.

Belhaven Mayor Adam O’Neal said he believes Pantego Creek is planning to tear the building down, as environmental reports of this nature are required for a demolition to move forward.

Supporters of reopening the hospital erected a tent in front of the property last Saturday to keep watch over the building.

But Pantego Creek continues to deny any plans to demolish the building, saying Terracon was just called in to assess the asbestos and mold issues.

“The Pantego Creek LLC managers have stated publicly many times that any final disposition of the former PDH (Pungo District Hospital) hospital campus will be made only after a vote of the LLC’s membership. The managers have made no proposals to the membership for the demolition of the buildings, and no vote of the membership for the demolition of these buildings (or for any other disposition of the real estate) has been scheduled,” Pantego Creek lawyer Arey Grady III said in a statement. “The managers do not know who originated these rumors, and the managers will again assure the LLC’s membership that the members have the final authority on matters of this nature.”

Since Vidant Pungo Hospital closed in 2014, Town of Belhaven officials have fought to reopen the facility, but plans to secure a $6 million USDA loan have stalled until the property is obtained. Despite efforts to obtain it via eminent domain and pressure from residents, Pantego Creek has said it will not give over the property until the LLC membership votes to do so.