Oily Situation Brewing in Flat Branch Park
The expansion is where the MKT railway used to be. Crews have to dig to remove what the railroad left behind. After bulldozing the land that will be added to the park, crews admit they didn't expect to find so much.
"You talk about a total facelift," said Steve Saitta. "This will be a total facelift!"
Saitta says crews have removed about 60 truckloads of contaminated soil, which has a distinct smell, but it's confined to the park area.
"Whenever we look at doing an excavation, some kind of a cleanup, you always look at the effect on the neighbors," said Chris Cady, environmental specialist with the Missouri Deparment of Natural Resources. "And we talk to people if we think there's going to be any concerns."
Cady also said visitors shouldn't worry about the area.
"We're going to get it out of there to very clean levels," he said. "It's going to be very safe for kids to play in the park."
When the dust disappears, the MKT Trail will run between the park and Flat Branch Creek.
"Our goal is to give it a much more natural look again," Saitta said.
Bikers, walkers and joggers on the trail will be able to cross Columbia without crossing motor vehicle traffic. Crews expect to finish the soil cleanup in three weeks, and hope to have the park expansion completed in spring or summer of 2007.