Thursday, November 11, 2004
That's Just Wrong: Contaminated Park
For residents in one South Florida community, it's a case of double trouble. Not only is their park potentially hazardous, it's also the subject of vandalism. From contaminated soil to a mangled fence, neighbors are now shouting that's just wrong.
WSVN --Underneath the coconut trees along sistrunk boulevard and 19th Avenue sits Lincoln Park.
Once popular - the place is abandoned these days. That's because underneath this soil, tests have found potentiallly dangerous chemicals like arsenic and lead.
Chemicals dating back more than half a century.
Community Activist Leola McCoy: "That is where the incinerator was first located."
Mickey Hinton: "This was the site where the city of Fort Lauderdale brought all its' rubbish."
The chemicals are a result of an old incinerator, which burned garbage from the late 1920's until the mid-1950's.
The city then turned the land into a park, which thrived until two years ago when lawmakers closed it down and built a fence to keep the kids out.
Leola McCoy: "I've seen the holes, the children just walk right through them, big gapping holes. There's not enough deterrant to save this place, keep your children home."
Mickey Hinton: "They walk through it every day, and what it is is the fence that they have it's not a real good fence."
You can see vandals have broken at least four holes.
Now, neighborhood activists say the whole thing's just wrong.
Leola McCoy: "I would like to see the place locked down secured."
When we brought the problem to the city of Fort Lauderdale, crews immediately repaired parts of the fence.
And just this week, they tore down the playground.
City authotities also tell us they plan to step up police patrols in the area.
David Hebert: "We're increasing the surveillance on this park. We are making sure the fence is in repair as frequently as neccessary."
As for those who may have come in contact with the soil, the city's engineering consultant maintains the soil is safe unless...
Environmental Engineer Tim Gipe: "With these types of compounds the two primary pathways for exposure is ingestion, eating, eating the soil and inhalation, if it became dust."
In the meantime, engineers say soil sampling will be completed in the next couple of weeks then sent off to the state.
The city also plans to either cover the contaminated soil with more dirt, a layer of plastic, or pour concrete over it.
Plus the city's already built wells to continue underground water tests.
But neighbors say that's not enough.
Leola McCoy: "I've asked the city, I've asked the engineers to declare this a disaster area."
They want to see a higher fence, danger signs posted, and for the city to take the cleanup a lot further.
Mickey Hinton: "If they can clean it up and have it safe for the kids, I really like to see the park opened up again."
City leaders have assured us, they are purchasing a new fence and hope to install it as quickly as possible.
But if you see Lincoln Park being vandalized, give Broward County CrimeStoppers a call at 954-493-TIPS.
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