Four businesses on Main Street in Maquoketa that were destroyed by fire nearly two-and-a-half years ago, are being knocked down and hauled away today. The discovery of asbestos in the buildings complicated things as the cost to remove them became more than their value.

The city of Maquoketa took possession of the buildings and secured nearly a $500,000 in federal and state grants to safely clean them up. Brandon Nielson is overseeing the workers who are tearing out the buildings. He says the workers are wetting down the material to ensure that no fibers or dust from the asbestos move off the property. Nielson says they are also taking precautions as they haul away the material.

Nielson says the trucks are lined with poly plastic so they can be covered as the material is taken off to a landfill. Workers were wearing masks as they cleaned up the asbestos contaminated material. The material will end up in an Illinois landfill that takes contaminated waste, and the city plans to turn the site into a green space.