Orlando city officials have known for years about a giant plumeof pollution, deep in the ground, underneath Downtown Orlando. The greatest concentration of contamination appears to be in Orlando's Parramore neighborhood, just west of Interstate 4, and is the result of chemicals released into the ground decades ago by a now defunct business.
Because of this, construction of the city'snewest neighborhood, the Creative Village, will have to wait until the officials can figure out if any ofthe underground pollution in the areas impacted has spread.
The plume runs from Robinson Street in Parramore all theway to Lake Eola. The city will conduct a survey at the site of the old AmwayArena, the heart of the planned Creative Village, to see if there is anythingin the ground that would have to be cleaned up first. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyertold us these studies are done commonly before urban redevelopments.
"If we determine that there is , then it put us inthe cue and the process to be able to get grant money for clean up."
The $400,000 study will be paid through afederal grant from the Environmental Protection Agency. Dyer said that, because the Creative Village is such animportant project to the city's future, they will look for more federal andstate grants to get the project done whenever they can.
"Any time we can secure state or federal grantfunding, that means that's money that the City of Orlando doesn't have toexpend that we can use for other things such as police and fire."
Any pollution would have to be cleaned up before theCreative Village is built, and it is not yet determined whether the developeror city would pay for the cleanup.
The Creative Village idea has beencontroversial. The city is asking $90 million for the land from thedeveloper, an appraisal that was done in the best of times for real estate, andeven then considered at the high end of what that land is worth. The projecthas already cost the city taxpayers $2 million more than what was anticipated forcosts associated with the demolition of the old Amway Arena.