Construction workers are chipping away at the mortar on the outside of the Dungarees clothing store at 500 E. Broadway. The work is causing dust to billow over the storefront and drift down Broadway.

The gaps left between the bricks will later be cleaned out and re-mortared, a process called tuck-pointing, Dungarees sales manager Kenny Townsend said.

The amount of dust is “so bad,” Townsend said.

This dust, which is piling up on the sidewalk and against the building, will be cleaned up and disposed of in dumpsters, Townsend said. On Monday, workers loaded the residue into trucks and took it straight to the landfill, he said.

The project is an effort to refurbish the outside of the decades-old building, owner Mike McClung said. He said the building has housed a Ford dealership and a grocery store in its past.

McClung said tuck-pointing is commonly done every 50 to 75 years. When water gets between the bricks, it breaks apart the mortar.

McClung said there are two options for fixing the issue: tuck-pointing or taking down and replacing all of the brick. In this case, he wanted to keep the original brick.

The work started Monday and will take at least three weeks to complete, McClung said. He said the job will be done in stages.

The front of the building was expected to be done Friday. Then crews will move to the Fifth Street side. They’ll move around the building until they have finished all sides.

Shane Creech, city building and site development manager, said the city isn’t responsible for regulating the dust.

“There’s nothing that the city regulates when it comes to air pollution,” he said. “That’s actually handled by the state.”

Christine Doerr said she was painting a traffic box at Sixth Street and Broadway on Tuesday when she began coughing from the dust.

“You’re out here breathing air, and you don’t notice it,” she said.

Worried the dust would damage her lungs, she said she returned to continue painting the box Wednesday with a protective mask. She said she filed a complaint with the city.

Creech said the city completed an inspection following the complaint and did not find the dust to be dangerous.

There were no additional complaints, he said.

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.

  • Public Life reporter, fall 2019. I am studying investigative journalism. Reach me at srrhgp@mail.missouri.edu, or in the newsroom at 882-5700.

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