Russellville Uses Grant to Create Railroad Park

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RUSSELLVILLE - A Missouri environmental group, which recently got a large grant, said it is helping to fund the destruction of a hazardous old gas station and the creation of the Railroad Park in Russellville.

"Essentially we had a piece of property that was a dilapidated, old service station with storage tanks underground that were potentially leaking contaminants everywhere," said Russellville Mayor Ritchie Jenkins.

The Environmental Improvement and Energy Resources Authority (EIERA) recently received $300,000 to clean up areas with contamination or hazardous substances in mid-Missouri. Russellville is one town that has taken advantage of the EIERA program.

"A city of our size would not have been able to pull off the funding to get the problem addressed without the EIERA grant," Jenkins said.

According to Russellville city documents, the EIERA awarded $75,000 to the city in fall 2011. The city then enrolled in the Department of Natural Resources' Voluntary Cleanup Program, which provided some oversight of the project.

Russellville resident J.R. Allen said, "This really beautifies the city."

"We're just doing the best we can," Allen said. "I try to do my part in any way I can by mowing and everything."

Jenkins said he is happy to have a place to hold town events and spend time with his family. As a father of small kids, he said he values having a place that his family will enjoy and remember.

"Russellville is an 1830's railroad town and that's a lot of our heritage," Jenkins said.

Currently, the park needs some concrete work, brick pavers installed, and sod put into the area. Russellville City Clerk Karen Platter said some of the landscaping may be rearranged as well before it is finished.

Jenkins said the funding from the EIERA runs out at the end of this calendar year.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has additional information on areas around Missouri that could use this type of funding. They are called brownfields. Click here for that information.