Regarding the recent advertisement appearing in Lagniappe, paid for by “Keep Mobile Growing,” either they have been talking to the wrong Africatown residents or they just don’t get it and continue to believe heavy industry across the street from a residential community and school children constitutes a healthy lifestyle for the Africatown community.

The group claims its “members have no intention to expand beyond their current footprint in the designated I-2 industrial zone outside the Africatown historical district where they have operated safely for over 100 years.”

Well, first of all, you assume the residents want you there. They don’t. Now that International Paper and Scott Paper Companies have been gone for nearly 20 years, the community has had time to breathe freely and don’t want that industrial threat hanging over their children’s heads like it did over ours.

You imply the businesses operated safely for over 100 years. Well, my father worked at IP for over 40 years and I worked there for four summers and it was not safe. Why do you think IP and Scott closed down and moved? They refused to spend the money necessary to make things safe for the community.

Watching ash fall from the sky like snow in July is not safe or healthy for anyone. You say you don’t have any intention to expand beyond the designated I-2 industrial zone. Well, why did you try to rezone the area around the community gardens from residential to industrial to build warehouses, and are currently trying to rezone property near Hopewell Baptist Church to store and auction off old military vehicles?

Now you want to construct oil storage tanks that could contain more than a million barrels of flammable oil at full capacity. A hundred years ago Africatown residents could not vote and had no voice in what was built next to our houses, schools, churches and children. Now we do, and that voice says “no.” NO MORE TANKS ON OUR BANKS!  

Joe Womack
Mobile