Soccer at the city dump

I’ve been closely following the controversy about the skate park location, which has seemed to me more like duck hunting with blanks – lots of noise and little meat – than a reasoned discussion. We’ve investigated a number of sites: Behind the police station (it was a dump), Reese Park (neighbors objected), Bradley Park (those pesky neighbors again), overflow pool parking (another dump) and now the historic area (during our bicentennial?). 

The only location that hasn’t raised a public outcry of one sort or another has been the police station location. The main reason the city council doesn’t want to try to put the skate park there is that it used to be a dump. They’re afraid that, if they go through the EPA process to get approval, they might find out that the prior dump contains toxins that would require that we clean up the whole area. 

Isn’t that sort of like a teenager trying to keep his mom out of his room because she might make him clean it up if she knew what a mess it was? Or like not going to the dentist because the doctor might make you floss because your gums are receding? Like I said – short on logic. 

Where’s the city's Green Team? Where are the environmentalists? Where are the people concerned about runoff into the creek? Where are the soccer parents whose kids are playing on the dump site? The skate park aside, why isn’t anybody concerned about the potential effects of our kids playing in a dump area?

If the city is worried the EPA might make a big deal out of the dump, maybe we should resolve the problem. Maybe a better approach would be to find out what’s buried there and what the issues really are. The city seems to be saying they don’t want to ask the question because they may not like the answer. That’s an irresponsible attitude – if we think we may have a problem, let’s find out, and if we do, let’s take care of it. 

I’ll bet there are even grants available to help us clean it up. Why aren’t we going after federal and state money to make it right? I’ve suggested the warring factions get together and raise the money. That would serve dual purposes – a home for the skate park and resolution of the environmental problems at the old dump, aka police station.

I asked a friend who knows about EPA processes what would be involved in cleaning up the Cahoon Park dump site. We’d have to go through something called a “Rule 13” process requiring about $13,000 which the Bay Village Historical Society could help raise. Then guess what? Cover it with asphalt or concrete. Something like a skate park would be perfect. Wow.

Alex Dade lives in Bay Village.

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Volume 2, Issue 7, Posted 8:42 PM, 04.02.2010