SAN ANTONIO – After more than a decade of neglect and assorted legal fights, there's a renewed effort to rid the South Side of abandoned scrap tire site, considered one of the state's largest.
State Rep. John Lujan (R-Dist. 118) hosted a town hall meeting Monday at the Ozuna Library at Palo Alto College.
"To me, it's a tragedy that this has been allowed to exist so long on the South Side," Lujan said.
He said about a decade ago, before retiring from the San Antonio Fire Department, Lujan responded to a grass fire at the site in the 11100 block of Applewhite Road.
He said at the time he was concerned about a dozen tires he initially saw.
Lujan said actually there were four million tires stored on the property.
Tomas Uresti, Lujan's Democratic opponent, said he agrees (the tires) degrade property values, discourage development and pose a health hazard.
"I will work to give the local community more tools to stop the collection of tires before they become a health concern," Uresti said.
A letter last month from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, responding to Lujan's inquiry, detailed the site's troubled history dating back to 2000.
Since then, the state has sued two separate owners, but with little success.
Richard A. Hyde, TCEQ executive director, said, the agency is assisting the Texas attorney general in a lawsuit to compel the removal of the 1.2 million tires that remain.
Lujan said the potential cleanup could run as high as $4.5 million.