CRESTVIEW — Residents attending future events in Twin Hills Park may find more convenient parking. A former “Superfund” clean-up site could become a downtown parking lot.
Community Redevelopment Agency Director Brenda Smith told the CRA’s board of directors that Gulf Power has indicated a willingness to donate the site to the city.
“They said they would very much entertain that idea,” Smith said. “All they required is the City Council present a letter requesting the donation.”
Public Works Director Wayne Steele said that not only had the lot on the corner of Oakdale Avenue and Brett Street North been contaminated, so had the city’s water well and surrounding soil.
“It was contaminated with mercury that was leaking from the transformers,” Steele said. “They removed over 30,000 tons of dirt from the area.”
It was declared an Environmental Protection Agency Superfund clean-up site, and the contamination problem was solved, Steele said. It is no longer listed on the EPA’s list of Florida Superfund sites.
But if the city requests the donation from Gulf Power, Steele recommended the transfer be thoroughly vetted.
“Be careful of the terminology in the deed restrictions because we don't want to accept a liability,” he said.
Board members also expressed interest, but caution, in the opportunity.
“I just want to make sure the EPA, the DEP, the FBI, whoever, is good with this,” board member Doug Faircloth said, to chuckles. “I want to make sure this is researched to the hilt.”
Smith said because she only learned Aug. 19 that Gulf Power was willing to donate the property to the city, she had not included developing the lot in her proposed 2016-17 budget.
Because of its former contamination, the site’s uses are restricted, Smith said.
“The property, when it is donated to the city, can only be used for parking,” she said.
Providing additional downtown parking is included in the CRA’s plan for the district.