A Miami Twp. park closed two years ago before the U.S. EPA removed thousands of tons of lead-contaminated soil is open, but has remained off limits to vehicle traffic.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund project to replace about 5,725 tons of soil - and other work, including tree removal - was completed last fall.
But other projects, some that include new amenities, remain before the 7.5-acre park on Cordell Drive can be fully accessible, according to township Public Works Director Dan Mayberry.
“The drive through gates will simply be opened as soon as an independent contractor completes work on the new play equipment installation and removes the equipment/Dumpster in the parking lot,” Mayberry said in an email Thursday.
“There is no barrier keeping visitors from walking into the park….so essentially the park is already open and there is no delay,” he added.
Health officials closed the park in the spring of 2016 after the Ohio EPA detected high concentrations of lead in soil at the park, the site of a skeet shooting range for decades. EPA officials later said the lead was first discovered in 2013, but overlooked in what one state official called “a big mistake.”
More soil tests were done at the park and in more than 20 yards of homes next to the park, but only one nearby private property needed its soil removed, EPA officials said.
The EPA said late last year its initial estimate of $3 million for the work was likely going to be closer to $1.75 million, with the township not paying for any of the lead cleanup.
Contractors recently planted more than 60 large caliper native trees to reforest the park, according to the township’s website.
Other restoration plans included: the replacement of the parking lot, renovations to the two half-court basketball courts, removal of a severely deteriorated tennis court, installation of a new swing set placed in engineered wood fiber mulch fall zone, and replacement of two cooking grills, according to the township.
Other township improvements for this year include the replacement of play equipment and renovations to the shelter house.
Future plans for the park are to renovate the ball diamond and then welcome seasonal reservations for organized youth teams, according to the township.
The border surrounding the new equipment was on back order, but Mayberry said the contractor told him they may return to the park today to install the border and finish the grading around the equipment.
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