“Vandals were taking the metal in here, stealing it and selling it for scrap,” said Gerald Green, Jackson County planner, as he stood at the entrance to the vast, dark expanse inside the factory. Sunlight from the big truck entrance behind him could reach only so far into the 82,000 square feet of steel and concrete ahead.
A couple years ago, one of those vandals’ vehicles caught fire while on the site. That, Green said, was when the county ‘first started saying, ‘We have to do something about this.’”
Originally built in 1964, the plant shut down in the 1990s and passed to county ownership in the early 2000s. Clearwood, LLC — another wood products company — leased the building for a few years after that, but that company soon closed down. For the past five years, the Drexel factory has sat vacant.