Mayor: New Nashville Park Will Be Safe For Kids - WSMV News 4

Mayor: New Nashville Park Will Be Safe For Kids

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Weeks after a Channel 4 I-Team investigation found contaminated soil at Nashville's new riverfront park, the mayor said the park will be safe for children when it opens.



Mayor Karl Dean revealed Thursday the riverfront play park will be known as Cumberland Park. He was joined by Metro Parks officials and the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency.


The I-Team found the river has been polluted for years because of the industry next door to the new park, and it is something the mayor said he's keeping an eye on.


The city is trying to turn the 6.5-acre riverfront area into a vibrant, active green space for people to enjoy. The park is between the Shelby Street pedestrian bridge and the Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge, and citizens will be able to enjoy landscaped gardens, picnic areas, a stage area, a river walk and more. The park will feature a climbing wall and spray fountains.


The I-Team found the city has quietly been remediating contaminated soil at the site for months. Documents show everything from arsenic to lead was discovered in the soil, thanks to the industries that once stood there.


The I-Team investigation also found one section of the park covered in orange tape as a warning to future developers. The tape has now been extended to other areas.


"The orange is warning tape where we've buried less desirable soil, and (we) bring in 24 inches of desirable soil on top and do our planting on top of that," said Edward Owens, waterfront redevelopment director.


The I-Team also found the river that borders the park has been contaminated, this time from the industry next door, PSC Metals.


Years of pollution inspections showed that the metals recycling company has been dumping stormwater with higher-than-acceptable levels of metals into the Cumberland River -- a river from which the city gets its drinking water.


Records show PSC had no idea stormwater from their industry was dumping into the river, but even after they tried to stop it, the city still found pollution entering the river.


Both the city and the state have issued notices of violations to PSC. Both Metro's Water Department and the state's Department of Environment and Conservation said as long as PSC continues to try to stop the pollution from entering the river, there will be no further action taken.


The park was supposed to be open to the public this summer, but recent rain has delayed the project.


"It's a very weather-dependent project," said Owens. "Every day it rains, it costs us three days, so it will be difficult to say when it will be finished."


City officials said they hope to have the park ready to open in the fall.


The riverfront redevelopment project was kicked off by Dean in October 2010. More than 150 Nashville citizens submitted more than 200 ideas for names for the park.

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