Ultra Music Festival 2016 may be in jeopardy after Bayfront Park dubbed a ‘poison park’Ultra DAY I 002

Ultra Music Festival 2016 may be in jeopardy after Bayfront Park dubbed a ‘poison park’

Bayfront Park has just been dubbed one of Miami’s “poison parks.” The 32-acre area served as the home of Ultra Music Festival from 2001-2005, and then again from 2012-2015. Whether or not the tradition continues next year depends on how quickly city officials can eliminate harmful arsenic, lead and other toxins that were recently found polluting the soil. For those wondering how the toxins and chemicals got there in the first place, the answer is: nobody really knows. The contamination could date back to 1925, when the park was created with mud taken from the depths of Biscayne Bay. It could go back even before that time, when the Florida East Coast Railway used the area as a shipyard. Whatever the cause of the pollution, Bayfront is just one of the city’s many arsenic-, lead-, and barium-contaminated green spaces, according to a survey conducted last year (Coconut Grove and Bicentennial Park were also on the list).

A massive cleanup has been in the works to help rectify the appalling discovery, and so far it has cost millions of dollars. The cleanup of Bayfront Park alone purportedly could reach over a million dollars, as estimated by consultants from SCS Engineers. It seems the amount has caused city officials and the Bayfront Park Management Trust to have second thoughts about proceeding with the cleanup. They are currently in negotiations with Miami-Dade County environmental regulators to determine whether to move forward with the cleanup and what the most cost-effective process would entail.

The Bayfront Park Management Trust, which is responsible for all Bayfront-related business, said it lacks sufficient funds and time to go through with an expensive and time-consuming cleanup of the park, especially with the revenue-grossing Ultra Music Festival less than a year away.

“The whole issue has been moving along extremely slowly,” trust chairman and Miami city commissioner Frank Carollo told the Herald. He also said Bayfront is the only city park that has not received financial aid from the city, nor has it seen any plan for the rectification.

Some trust board members believe the level of pollution is not high enough to pose a health risk to the public, therefore its removal is unnecessary. ““You would have to literally ingest the dirt to get sick,” trust member Nathan Kurland told the Herald.

City officials, however, insisted on a cleanup and have threatened to close the park unless their demands were met. The trust finally voted to contract consultants to draw up a cleanup plan.

Via: Miami New Times

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