GREENWOOD — Mold and mildew has forced town officials to relocate this year’s annual town meeting and election to the American  Legion hall.

Town Manager Kim Sparks said the May 22 meeting and election will be held at 10 a.m. at the Jackson-Silver Post 68 Legion Hall at 595 Gore Road..

“You come in the front door, and you would smell it,” Sparks said of the odorous mold problem that pervades both the Town Hall and municipal building on Route 26 in the Locke Mills village section of Greenwood, where she sits daily in the front room with a large air purifier running nearby.

While air quality tests have indicated that employees can still remain in the municipal building, visible mold, including black spots on the ceiling and walls, at the Town Hall have forced officials to keep people out of the Town Hall until the problem is resolved. The Town Hall was being used for elections and town meetings, dances and by organizations such as the Lakes Association, who meet there for annual meetings.

The problem is not new to the buildings because of the constant wetness of the Locke Mills village area, but when a cleaning company arrived last summer to try to eradicate the mold, they walked through the door and turned and walked right out, Sparks said.

“They turned around and said not until you have an air quality test,” she said of the attempted cleaning of the Town Hall. An air quality test was also done on the municipal office building last summer, and mold was detected there also.

Sparks said it has always been wet in the building basements because the level of the ground in the village is so low, but with more people having allergies nowadays, the issue became more immediate.

“You instantly smell it,” she said of the mildew that is prevalent particularly in the warm weather. The problem has become bad enough in the municipal building that one of the meetings rooms is used as sparingly as possible now, she said.

While officials know that something has to be done with both buildings, the question is what. Options include tearing down both buildings.

“At this point, there’s no money,” said Sparks, who said just the mold removal would cost thousands of dollars. The issue may be posed to residents on a referendum at a later date or at a special town meeting.

It may be the town needs to save money for a new building, she said.

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