Oak Bluffs teen center closed after lead paint found
The popular YMCA teen center on Pequot Avenue in Oak Bluffs was closed in May and remains closed, after lead paint was discovered in the building.
A contractor preparing the building for a new coat of paint used a dry sander, spreading lead paint dust throughout the building, according to YMCA executive director John Clese.
Mr. Clese, whose own office and those of his program staff were located in the building at 57 Pequot Avenue, said he immediately closed the building, moved all personnel out, and cancelled summer programs for teens.
According to assessors' records, the two-story building, constructed in 1920, is owned by Cottagers, Incorporated. A registered letter from the Oak Bluffs board of health, sent to the Cottagers, Inc. in care of Thelma Hurd, "highly recommended" exterior and interior cleaning by a licensed deleader. According to test results received by the board, five of six samples taken from the building failed state standards for lead contamination.
Health agent Shirley Fauteux said she has no authority to compel a clean-up. "The lead paint law only addresses residential properties," she wrote in her letter. "Since this building is not residential, the board of health cannot issue an order to correct."
Ms. Hurd could not be reached for comment.
Mr. Clese said a state-certified contractor is scheduled to clean and inspect the teen center on July 18. He does not expect to re-open the building for teen programs until the fall, when the facility usually gears up for after-school activities.
He said there was no concern about previous lead contamination to children, and no test screening was done. Mr. Clese said since the building had been painted over a number of times, it is very unlikely that children were exposed to any lead paint recently. The building opened as a teen center in March 2004.
In her letter to the building's owner, Ms. Fauteux suggested lead screening. "Since the property was used as a YMCA center, if any children under age 6 were in attendance there, I suggest they undergo lead screening."