The city of Detroit plans to temporarily close Riverside Park, though it was crowded Thursday with fishermen and other visitors.
Contaminants have been found in the soil and groundwater. A Recreation Department official met with neighbors Wednesday night, but the city provided no information Thursday on the nature of the hazardous material.
It is reportedly a petroleum-based substance.
Joe Rashid, who runs the Friends of Riverside Park, said a coal gasification plant was on the site until the 1950’s.
Riverside Park covers 20 acres near the Ambassador Bridge. Years ago, the Detroit International Bridge Company fenced off portions of the park, prompting a lawsuit. Rashid says it was resolved late last year.
"That judgment came down and at that point (DIBC) mentioned the site was contaminated. The city investigated and found that remediation had to be done on the site," Rashid said.
DIBC did not return phone calls from Local 4.
The city is seeking a $550,000 grant for the cleanup which would take several months.
City officials would not provide a precise timetable for closing and reopening the park.