Nonprofit building headed by former councilwoman condemned - WSMV News 4

Nonprofit building headed by former Metro councilwoman condemned

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A building used by a local nonprofit has been condemned. The doors will remain closed unless some much-needed repairs are made.

Last week Metro Codes inspectors conducted an interior inspection on the building used by The North Edgefield Organized Neighbors, or NEON. Inspectors found major violations that could be putting lives in danger.

The NEON building at 914 Meridian St. in east Nashville may not be in danger of collapsing, but what Metro Codes inspectors found was enough to determine it's unfit for human habitation.

"We found some serious electrical issues, we found some issue with the gas piping that's part of the mechanical system," said Bill Penn, assistant director of Metro Codes and Safety. "There doesn't appear to be any hot water in the building."

But that's not all. The brick veneer is cracking, the wooden deck is in disrepair, there's water damage, structural problems and issues with the HVAC that are causing mold and mildew, according to codes officials.

"You're putting other human beings in danger by having services being held in a building that's unsafe," said Scott Davis, Metro District 5 councilman. "I admire the courage to services, but you can't endanger people's lives. You got to have a building insured and a building that's safe, more importantly."

Davis said he has received several complaints about the condition of the building.

Former Metro Councilwoman Pam Murray is president of NEON. The nonprofit group offers everything from tutoring and arts to dance classes.

"Personally in the last couple of years, I haven't seen those activities," Davis said. "However, if those activities were going on, I would encourage those parents of those kids to get them a full medical checkup, because of the mold, the black mold and green mold found inside the building."

Murray stopped by the building Tuesday afternoon but said she couldn't comment and referred us to NEON's attorney.

A NEON board member told Channel 4 News that Tuesday was supposed to have been open house for their tutoring program, but now that the building has been deemed unfit, the board is disappointed that won't be happening.

Back in December, a historic firehall on Gallatin Road that was donated to NEON caught fire. It turned out a homeless man was staying there and was injured. The building was uninsured.

Davis said he doesn't want to see the same thing happen to the Meridian Street building.

"I'm just scared to death that something like this will happen again. We know in the winter time, people go inside an empty building to stay warm," Davis said.

Murray is scheduled to appear in Metro Environmental Court Wednesday afternoon for a status update hearing. Metro Codes will update the judge on what violations they discovered when they conducted the interior inspection last Thursday.

We tried reaching out to NEON'S attorney, Joseph Johnston, but he did not return our phone calls.

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