Monday, November 20, 2017
News Roundup

Clearwater plans to cover ash-filled dump site Phillip Jones Park

RECOMMENDED READING


CLEARWATER — The Greenwood Panthers haven't scheduled a true home football game in three years.

Their turf at Phillip Jones Park closed when city officials determined the field sat on top of an old dump site filled with ash.

That's not hazardous, the city says, but the state has procedures for properly capping the site.

"It's not anything that's going to environmentally kill you," said Ed Chesney, environmental manager for the city of Clearwater, "but you don't want to be playing on it."

The city recently approved setting aside $822,000 to top the site with 2 feet of clean sand and renovate the park. The project requires collaboration with the state Department of Environmental Protection and the Southwest Florida Water Management District, with a targeted completion in time for next year's football season.

The history of Phillip Jones Park dates back more than a half-century, Chesney said. It sat next to a solid waste treatment plant. During the 1940s and 1950s, the once low-lying area along a creek was filled with ash, likely from a nearby incinerator, to make it usable land.

"It was done all over the state, all over the country," Chesney said.

Because records don't exist, the city doesn't really know who filled the land or what went into it. In that time, though, Chesney said, burned trash consisted mostly of paper and wood. It wasn't until later that plastics started appearing more and sometimes broke down into harmful byproducts.

"If there's a silver lining," Chesney said, "it's that the ash was old ash, not newer ash."

Pinellas County Schools owned the land at 1190 Russell St. and gave it to the city in 1949, Chesney said. It became a park, and for decades children played football there.

Ten years ago, the city followed up on community rumors and started investigating the soil under the field. Officials found bits of glass and tile and eventually realized the field appeared to be an old ash-filled site. Two years ago, the city voluntarily closed the field as a precautionary measure, Chesney said.

The city tested for contaminants and gases, finding some metals in the ground but no gases: "Nothing hazardous that would raise real concerns," he said. "Nobody has been hurt or made any claims against the field."

State guidelines call for the city to "seal" the site. Instead of digging up all the ash, the city plans to use a cheaper option of adding clean fill above it.

Parks are a common way to reuse former landfill sites, Chesney said, citing the Joe DiMaggio Sports Complex on Drew Street — formerly a garbage dump — as a similar case.

The youth football and cheerleading program that practiced at Phillip Jones hasn't experienced any safety or health issues with the field, said Greenwood Panthers president Joe Marshall.

But its closure has forced the Panthers to scramble for places to practice. They can't host games, which has caused some problems during playoffs, Marshall said.

"It's definitely an inconvenience," he said.

Stephanie Wang can be reached at (727) 445-4155 or [email protected]

Comments
Charles Manson, cult leader of gory killings in 1969, has died

Charles Manson, cult leader of gory killings in 1969, has died

LOS ANGELES — Cult leader Charles Manson, whose followers killed actress Sharon Tate and six others in 1969, died Sunday night. He was 83. A spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections said Manson died of natural causes. The gory slaying...
Updated: 2 hours ago
USF, UCF contribute to a first in football poll

USF, UCF contribute to a first in football poll

The new Associated Press football poll produced some Florida history Sunday.For the first time, UCF and USF are both ranked — and Florida State and Florida are both unranked — entering their respective season-ending grudge matches this weekend.The No...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Updated: 5 hours ago
Youth choir trains voices of confidence

Youth choir trains voices of confidence

 
Updated: 5 hours ago

Stolen car crashes in St. Pete, leaving passenger, 15, with life threatening injuries

Two boys in a stolen car struck a dip in the roadway and crashed into a tree, leaving the 15-year-old passenger with life-threatening injuries, St. Petersburg police said.The crash occurred about 11:25 a.m. Sunday as the car sped west on 11th Avenue ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Lightning’s rare loss produces reality check

Lightning’s rare loss produces reality check

TAMPA — Jon Cooper stood at the podium late Saturday night to address the media after a regulation loss for only the third time this season."Let’s be honest," he said, "we’ve had one hell of a start."The loss, he added, was frustrating, even when you...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Figures from FSU case enter latest allegation against Jameis Winston

Figures from FSU case enter latest allegation against Jameis Winston

MIAMI GARDENS — The case of Jameis Winston and a female Uber driver in Arizona took more twists Sunday, with Winston getting some level of corroboration, and his unnamed accuser retaining a familiar, high-profile attorney.Eagles cornerback Ronald Dar...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Country artist Mel Tillis, who traced success to Plant City youth, dead at 85

Country artist Mel Tillis, who traced success to Plant City youth, dead at 85

Before Mel Tillis achieved stardom, writing songs recorded by hundreds of Nashville artists and embracing the stutter that became his trademark, he was a young man fresh out of the Air Force struggling to land a spot in a Plant City talent show.Eyes ...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Report: Florida rarely punishes doctors sued for malpractice

FORT LAUDERDALE — Florida doctors are rarely punished by state regulators even after they are sued for malpractice, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported Sunday. The Florida Department of Health reviewed nearly 24,000 resolved state and federal law...
Updated: 6 hours ago
10 African-Americans named Rhodes scholars, most ever

10 African-Americans named Rhodes scholars, most ever

Associated PressThe latest group of U.S. Rhodes scholars includes 10 African-Americans — the most ever in a single Rhodes class — as well as a transgender man and four students from colleges that had never had received the honor before. The Rhodes Tr...
Updated: 6 hours ago