After Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson ordered the parks department to halt the plan to remove 80 trees from Legion Park, as part of a clean up by the State Department of Ecology, the entire cleanup plan has been halted. Here’s the latest from Meghan Pembroke at the City of Everett…
The City of Everett and Department of Ecology have put planned cleanup work at American Legion Memorial Park, including the arboretum area, on hold while they work to modify the project. The work is now expected to begin in the second half of 2015, and will likely focus the cleanup on a smaller area of the park.
“In order to reduce the risk of damage to the park’s trees, we’ve decided to take additional time to review the project and adjust the scope of work,” said Mayor Ray Stephanson. “Our staff is now working with Ecology on a modified plan to ensure the least amount of disruption for the trees.”
Ecology and parks staff will reevaluate the project and identify the park areas that are most in need of cleanup, such as high-traffic areas and locations with higher levels of arsenic contamination. Reducing the amount of soil to be removed and replaced will minimize disturbance and potential damage to trees.
“We know that Ecology and its contractor would take precautions to work carefully around the trees, but with so many root zones in close proximity to each other, it’s impossible to completely avoid impacts to some of the trees,” said Paul Kaftanski, parks director. “We want to take another look at how best to accomplish the cleanup while minimizing risk to the trees.”
The revised project is not expected to require a full closure of the park and may be completed in phases to minimize impacts to park visitors. The narrowed project scope will not require the City’s annual Sorticulture festival to be moved to the park’s ball fields for 2015.
Ecology is the lead agency on the Everett smelter cleanup work in northeast Everett and has been working with parks staff to finalize the park cleanup plan. Legion Park, including the arboretum area, was initially scheduled to close to the public in October, with cleanup taking place between November and May 2015. For more information on the project, click here.