As time goes by and communities change, land use changes, too. The City of Crab Orchard in Lincoln County, Ky., used to be home to the Lincoln Scrap Yard, a property that operated as an automotive scrap yard for many years. In 2005, it was donated to the City of Crab Orchard by Judy and Cecil King.
With the site being in the heart of the city on Main Street, the city was interested in reusing the property. In 2006 the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection conducted Phase I and II environmental assessments on the property with Kentucky Targeted Brownfields Assessment funds.
At the time, the site was an eyesore and a potential threat to human health and the environment, according to former state project manager Wesley Turner of the Superfund program.
“The dusts and waters that came from the facility had the potential of transporting pollutants from the site to neighboring properties and homes,” says Turner.
Fortunately, the environmental assessment results indicated that it would be possible to close the site, safely manage contamination, and even reuse the property.
The City of Crab Orchard made the decision to redevelop the property into a new park. The cleanup plan, funded by the USEPA Brownfield Program and a Kentucky Pride Community Enrichment Grant, was implemented by the city, their environmental consultant, and the state.
The cleanup, completed in July 2012, included demolishing an aging and unsafe building on Main Street and capping contaminated soil across the entire site to mitigate exposure risk to the community.
State Project Manager Brent Cary of the Superfund program describes part of the work. “We assisted in characterization of the site, removed an enormous amount of debris, placed groundwater wells on site, performed extensive monitoring, aided in the development of surface control measures, and worked with the community and their environmental consultant to finalize the site management plan,” said Cary.
Through this collaborative work, an unsafe property was transformed into a beautiful new city park that now serves as a focal point for the entire community. As the only municipal park in Lincoln County, the grounds include a regulation size basketball court, play grounds, Amish trading market, picnic areas, paved walking trails, a setting for music festivals, and the creation of 3 acres of new open green space.
“I would like to add a note to communities that are working on these types of projects,” said Turner. “Make sure you stay in touch with your project manager. A number of issues are likely to arise on any project of this type. Early and frequent communication is the key to success at these sites. Our staff has a wide array of expertise and is fairly creative at problem solving. Use us to make your job easier.”
For more information on this project, contact Geologist Brent Cary, Superfund Branch
project manager at 502-564-6716, ext. 4736.