PALMETTO -- Only the top six inches of contaminated soil may require remediation at the proposed site for Little League ballfields at Blackstone Park, Palmetto Mayor Shirley Groover Bryant said Friday.
"This is a much better scenario than the initial information, so we should remain cautiously optimistic," Groover Bryant said in an email.
The evaluation is based on preliminary reports by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection regarding the land at Blackstone Park, which was previously deemed "unfavorable" due to detection of residual pesticide from previous farming activities.
Palmetto and Manatee County officials hope to build the ballfields for the North River American Little League, which was displaced from its Palmetto playing fields a few years ago. The Palmetto fields were eliminated after the city sold the land to the Manatee County School Board for the construction of a new elementary school.
Derek Goforth, president of the North River American Little League, called the mayor's announcement "definitely good news."
"We had been told that they were not sure how much had to be remediated, at least this gives them an idea," Goforth said. "This is not the worst-case scenario. Six inches isn't too bad, it's better than six feet."
When environmental testing showed there was residual pesticides, the county recommended halting construction plans for the site. It had been predicted that construction and remediation costs could then reach about $3.3 million and extend completion time to two and a half years.
Groover Bryant said the email outlines a June 20 conversation held with Manatee County Administrator Ed Hunzeker and that the DEP said further testing is necessary "in order for them to provide more conclusive guidance." The results of the additional tests will not be available until after July 24, she said.