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Central Park Re-Opening, Public Health & Safety Report

Post Date:01/03/2017 4:25 PM

The purpose of this report is to verify the status of the soils around the burnt-out Community Center building and provide a laypersons’ summary of the soils testing that was carried out by a specialized company following the fire of July 21, 2016. The full report by Forensic Analytical Consulting Services (FACS) is attached, along with a site map for readers’ reference.

In the hours and days following the Community Center fire, the City’s staff and its insurance carriers immediately implemented current and best practices for protecting citizens from any potentially hazardous substances that were created by the fire itself and/or by the suppression of the fire.  Not surprisingly, the amount of water used to fight the fire created surface runoff around the perimeter of the building and in adjacent landscape areas.  The entire park was immediately closed and fenced so that the Fire Department could complete its post-fire investigation and the initial site “mop-up” could be done.  At that time the City requested that soils tests be performed before any portion of the park was re-opened.  On August 12, 2016, FACS collected samples from several locations around the building and adjacent park areas.  An accredited laboratory analyzed those samples and the results returned to FACS.  The analysis presented in the attached FACS report fall into three categories of potentially harmful substances:

  • Asbestos
  • Heavy metals
  • Volatile organic compounds

The findings were that no concentrated levels of any of the substances of concern exceeded federal EPA thresholds, with the exception of two sample locations, which showed elevated levels:

  1. Lawn area in front of the building, near the street entry
  2. Lawn area to the immediate east of the building

Both positive test locations are inside the re-aligned, temporary construction fence, and therefore no exposure to the public will occur.

In the case of sample location No. 4 – the wood chips under the playground, the City has recently removed all the chips, cleaned the play equipment, and installed new mulch, even though the test results were negative.

In summary, the City has determined, based on scientific forensic data, that the re-opened portions of Central Park are free of health and safety risks related to the fire.  During the demolition and re-building of the Community Center, all state and federal regulations for the identification, handling, removal, hauling, and disposal of potentially hazardous materials inside the construction fencing will be followed to the highest standards, such that current park users and future Community Center visitors will enjoy a healthy and safe environment.

To view the FACS Soil Results Report, please click here:

To view the locations of the Central Park soil samples, please click here:



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