As recovery and repair work continues throughout the City after the May 22, 2011 tornado, Joplin Parks in the disaster area received soil testing for the presence of soil lead and cadmium as part of their reconstruction efforts. Cunningham, Mohaska and Cedar Ridge Parks all tested negative, although Parr Hill and Garvin Parks tested positive.
Joplin Parks and Recreation has announced that Parr Hill Park and Garvin Park will close immediately to allow lead remediation work to be completed in identified areas of these parks. It will also provide the opportunity to continue repairs to the park and its facilities in a safe environment.
Both Parr Hill and Garvin Parks had results showing pockets of contaminated soil in various areas of the city property. These areas will be remediated following the same process done on other properties by removing the contaminated soil and replacing it with clean soil.
“Closing the parks is a safety precaution that we feel is in the best interest of our citizens,” said City Manager Mark Rohr. “Because of the large equipment used to do this work as well as their need to move throughout the park into the different identified areas, it is the most practical way to get this work completed.”
The City will post signs about these closures at the Parks, and the contractor will secure the work areas. Citizens are asked to avoid these parks at this time until the remediation is completed.
The parks property is similar to many other properties in the disaster area that had a great deal of soil disturbance caused by uprooted trees and the high winds. During these soil disturbances, mine waste previously unknown was brought to the surface.
Joplin was founded on its lead and zinc mining industry. Because of this, an ordinance is currently in place requiring testing for lead and cadmium levels of certain properties in the previously identified mine waste contaminated areas in the city where children are likely to be present (residences, daycares, etc.), before a building permit can be issued. Following the tornado, Joplin City Council expanded this ordinance to include property in the disaster area that fell into this same category.
“Now that we are aware about the need for remediation, we want to get it taken care of immediately and reopen the parks as quickly as we can.,” said Rohr. “We do appreciate everyone’s patience and support in this matter.”