Dunbar toxic sludge site set to come to life as new park

Reporter: Anika Henanger
Published: Updated:

The sludge is gone, and now the people living near what was once a toxic dumping ground in Dunbar can see what it will become.

“It would put life on this road and on this whole community,” said Annie Freeman, who lives in the area.

People like Freeman got their first look at the plan to make a source of suffering a sanctuary: the former toxic sludge dumpsite in Dunbar coming to life as a park.

“That’s the most important thing: when your kids can enjoy [themselves.] And I believe something like that, I believe they really will,” said Dunbar resident Milton Johnson.

The video below from the City of Fort Myers shows the site becoming a park with big lawns. It shows the entire South Street future site plan zooming in and showing views from multiple sides of the park.

While Johnson says he didn’t vote in the city’s survey asking what residents would like to see the site become, Freeman did and is glad that a majority of people who returned the survey picked the park.

“It would make people fix up and keep their yards clean and their houses nice,” said Freeman.

Where there was once arsenic, the plan would put security cameras, solar trees, walkways and spots to sit and relax.

“At least they can sit back and watch their kids, grandkids, whatever, go out there and enjoy [themselves,]” said Milton. Enjoy a plan to reduce flooding to using stormwater ponds. A big project.

“I hope I’ll be here,” Milton said, laughing. “I would like to see it—I sure would.

Many hopes that come with a short timeline.

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