GASTONIA, N.C. — Concerns and criticisms about a South Gastonia plasma donation center under construction prompted a community meeting Monday night.
The meeting, which began at 5:30 p.m. at the Gastonia Police Department, will include city leaders, homeowners and representatives of CSL Plasma, which is constructing the donation center.
The center is located in an old drugstore at the intersection of South U.S. 321 and Carolina Avenue.
City Councilwoman Jennifer Stepp, who represents the ward where the center will be located, said the council can't stop the project because it meets zoning requirements.
Instead, she hopes a community meeting with every stakeholder could help address the neighborhood's concerns.
"By putting faces on the problem, I think it often changes the dynamics," she said. "It becomes very personal, and then we can work together to find solutions."
Matthew and Shuree Correll own a house near the center, and they believe it'll prey upon vulnerable people.
"It's one of the more high-crime areas of Gastonia, but the neighborhoods are beautiful; the people are beautiful," Shuree Correll said. "But, it's a notorious business for bringing in drug users, preying on older people that need income, the poor."
Gastonia's other plasma center, which is owned by a different company off North New Hope Road, was the site of a deadly shooting in June 2017.
Police said two men shot and killed another man following an argument in the center's parking lot in the middle of the day.
The Corrells said their concerns also include the plasma donation industry as a whole. They believe the industry's practices could lead to harmful long-term health effects on people who donate plasma.
CSL Plasma didn't return NBC Charlotte's request for comment, but on its website, the company said the donated plasma is used to treat patients with life-threatening diseases.
On its website, CSL Plasma said, "...we strive to act with the utmost integrity in everything we do. Our high standards guide us as we work with our donors, ensure the quality of the plasma we collect, and manage our valued employees."