Barber Park has been shut down because of contaminants found in the soil at the city facility off of East Lee near Florida Street. High levels of lead and mercury have been found to be in the groundwater in and around the Park.
Barber Park was an industrial waste dump back in the early 1920’s but nothing has been dumped at this site for many years with the exception of few people that “made like a bear in the woods”.
The land around Barber Park also served as a wastewater treatment plant for a period of time. The land was tested for contaminants back in 1987 when construction of the park began and procedures were taken to assure that the land was safe.
If the park has been in use since the late 1980’s and there have been no previous problems and since no dumping has occured at the site for many, many years then why did they close the park?
The Buffalo Creek has always stunk. One of our local residents Jack Bullock, who is now in his mid-80’s, told me that he and his friends used to swim in the Buffalo back when they were kids. Occasionly they would encounter floating human waste but that didn’t stop their summer swimming trips. Do you think the English Channel is completely void of toxins?
The local expert Jeryl Covington, the director of the city’s enviromental services department says, “Mother nature is an amazing remediator”. Let nature take it’s course and the park can re-open. Only when nature calls and the public reacts by hitting the woods like those bears we mentioned earlier will there be major difficulties.
Joe Killian of the N&R shoud stick to the music scene and cover Sunday evening’s “Music in the Parks Series”.