Right now, city leaders are trying to figure out how to pay for another environmental cleanup – this time on the site of the new Fort Myers Police Dept. headquarters. Investigators say the ground is contaminated by chemicals. The changes will be a significant expenditure to clean up and will put a hold on the new building.
A $300,000 snag in the plan for the new Fort Myers police station has halted progression on the project on Monday. The whole complex will go at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. and Fowler, where the News-Press Building and the old firehouse are. Contamination was found under the building around the firehouse.
City documents say either gasoline or diesel could speed the building process up. The groundwater in the building is contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbon. Tom Missimer, Florida Gulf Coast University director of emergent technologies institute, said you do not want the material coming out and contaminating the river or an alternative point.
“The city has a municipal water supply,” Missimer said. “So it’s not going to contaminate somebody’s water in their house.”
Inside, they found asbestos as well as lead paint. To get rid of that, it will cost taxpayers $280,000. Documents show the city knew what they were getting into, but say it is a good investment and desperately needed. The department’s current location is just too small. With the new building, the department can do all their training and keep all of their equipment in the same building.