A Shame: Engagement Center Shut Down Due to Fuel Spill

By Seth Daniel

Just when things were going well at the new, and once controversial, Engagement Center on Southampton Street, Murphy’s Law paid a visit to the hard-luck tent structure.

Jim Greene of the Department of Neighborhood Development (DND) and Jen Tracey of the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Services reported on Tuesday that the Center – also known as the Tent – had been closed down due to a fuel spill that inundated the structure.

“It’s really just a (expletive deleted) shame,” said Greene, “because people were really getting connected there.”

Greene said that a few weeks ago someone on an adjacent property was filling up a vehicle with diesel fuel and accidentally caused a fuel spill of about 100 gallons. Things being as they are, the fuel flowed downhill and inundated the nearby Engagement Center.

“They had to tear up the floor and do borings to make sure the environment and everything there are safe. Next week, we’ll know what the clean up will be like. It could be one week to 10 days and then they could re-floor it and re-open, or it could be a much longer process.”

The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is now involved in the initial site investigation.

Greene and Tracey said that the Engagement Center was seeing upwards of 80 to 100 people at a time, and many were getting connected to services. That meant that many were no longer hanging out on the streets, which was the original purpose of the daytime service center.

At the present time, the Finland Building on Albany Street is being used to temporarily act as an Engagement Center and service portal.

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