Laundry that heated neighborhood to open

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, January 31, 2012

BEN HILLYER/THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — West Foster cleans the washers in preparation for the Main Street Laundry’s opening day. After delays from construction and a controversy with its next door neighbors, the laundry will open to customers this week.

NATCHEZ — After creating a spin cycle with its neighbors next door and suffering delays and unexpected expenses, Main Street Laundry is opening its doors this week.

Main Street residents Clay and Angela Gibson voiced concerns to the Natchez Preservation Commission in December about the laundry’s dryer vents blowing exhaust on the historic house they live in next door to the laundry.

The commission ordered the laundry’s owner, Sam Middleton, to repair holes made in the wall of the building — the former Goodyear Tire building — for dryer vents and create an alternative venting system for the laundry.

Middleton said all the holes have been repaired and the dryers are now vented through the roof.

“The preservation commission did what they should have done,” he said. “We never disagreed with that because it was our fault.”

Middleton said he followed manufacturer recommendations for the original venting system, and, in hindsight, he said he would have vented the dryers differently from the beginning.

“I hate we had all the trouble with our neighbors right off the bat,” Middleton said. “The way we’re doing it now is a good bit more expensive, but that’s not the point. I think everyone will be happy now.”

Although the dryers are being vented through the roof, Angela Gibson said one of the vents will still blow directly on the bathroom window of their apartment on the first floor of the house. She said she believes the vent will cause her family a considerable amount of discomfort.

Angela said, however, she was glad the preservation commission ruled in favor of a new vent system.

“We were satisfied with the (preservation commission) and very appreciative,” she said. “I still don’t want to move, and I hope we don’t have to.”

The repairs and new venting system, Middleton said, cost $3,000 and pushed back the laundry’s opening more than a month.

The laundry, Middleton said, will be open seven days a week from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m., with an attendant on duty. The washer and dryers are coin-operated, and Middleton said within a month or so the business will offer a fluff and fold drop-off laundry service.

“I think everyone will be happy,” he said. “We are offering a good service and will have a nice business.”