MW Horticulture sells 2 locations, new company promises to fix problems

Reporter: Marcello Cuadra Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:
MW Horticulture south Fort Myers location. (Credit: WINK News)

MW Horticulture recently sold two of its locations, including one that is known to catch fire and cause problems for the surrounding communities.

The new company didn’t acquire all of MW Horticulture. They only acquired the South Fort Myers and LaBelle locations.

The COO and president of Veransa, the company which bought those locations about three weeks ago, said they want to clean up the locations as soon as possible and turn them into the great facilities they once were.

It is a new era for MW Horticulture.

“It smelled, you can see the smoke,” said a person who lives nearby the south Fort Myers location that has seen several fires over the past couple of years.

Veransa sign outside MW Horticulture. (Credit: WINK News)

If you drive by the south Fort Myers site now, you’ll see a bright yellow sign. On the far left is a logo reading Veransa.

“Yeah, and we’ll see how this new company is,” said someone who lives near the site.

MW Horticulture Owner Denise Houghtaling explained the decision to sell. “They had what it took and had the funds and the capability and the know-how to implement the safety procedures and the higher quality equipment. It was a win-win for us.”

On Wednesday, WINK News met with the COO and president of Veransa South Florida, Kevin Dunlap, about what this acquisition means for this site.

He said their priority is cleaning it up. “We’re in the same business. That is all we do, we collect yard and wood waste, and we grind it. And we compost it, or we make it into a wood mulch, and we sell it, but we don’t let materials sit like this. Obviously, this got a bit out of control. And so, again, why we’re eager to fix it as quickly as possible,” said Dunlap.

MW Horticulture fire. (Credit: WINK News)

In April, MW Horticulture went up in flames after a mulch fire broke out.

Barbara Cilibrasi has lived on Briarcliff Street for 15 years, she said she remembers the smoke. “Everybody’s sinuses it was hard to breathe. I would love for that to be taken care of.”

When Cilibrasi and Paige McMullen learned about the acquisition and what the new company said it is doing to prevent something like this from happening again, they were happy.

“I think that would definitely be the responsible move on their part to make sure the neighborhood is safe. And so everything is good and working order,” said McMullen.

Dunlap said they must clean up this site in less than 18 months. He said that the fire risk out is pretty isolated, and they don’t think most of the materials out at the site are a fire risk right now.

Dunlap said they are working closely with the San Carlos Park Fire Department on areas they are concerned about as they clean this up.

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