Monroe County officials have moved ahead with buying 29.46 acres in the northern element of a larger site that has been proposed as a tourism vacation spot, regardless of the existence of environmental contaminants including polychlorinated biphenyls in the area.
On Tuesday, the Monroe County Council approved the $370,000 purchase of two properties on Hunter Valley Highway, northwest of the Ind. 46 and Interstate 69 interchange.
The acquire agreement experienced by now been authorised by the Monroe County Board of Commissioners.
“I’m really worried about accomplishing this,” reported council member Marty Hawk, who acknowledged she was in the minority. The council’s sole Republican, she was the only dissent in the 6-1 vote.
Since at least 2019, Monroe County has been hunting into getting practically 100 acres of quarry land for a selection of recreational and instructional employs, probably which include parks, trails, reveals about the limestone industry and an outside concert venue.
Due to the fact it was host to a number of industrial works by using a long time in the past and consists of quarries that from time to time have been employed as unsanctioned dumping grounds by the public, the place has PCBs. PCBs are a team of gentleman-produced natural and organic chemicals that ended up previously used in some industrial and business programs. These chemical substances have been connected to causing cancer with long-term, high levels of exposure.
The land’s contamination amount is reportedly low, but the county has ordered many studies on the attributes to measure public overall health chance, 1 of which was conducted by researcher Diane Henshel of Indiana University. Henshel is currently conducting a months-lengthy research of the qualified land along with a class of IU pupils, but she appeared at an August county commissioners meeting to speak on some preliminary results.
In the report, Henshel determined opportunity health and fitness concerns these kinds of as contamination concentrations and tough terrain.
In accordance to Henshel, PCBs remain in the bedrock and are not able to be taken out. She likened the limestone to a “quite cracked Swiss cheese and the PCBs are in there.” Flooding and design can jar PCBs out of the bedrock into the environment.
Calculated quantities of PCB contamination have been lower and have not been identified to strike a hazard issue degree, Henshel explained in the course of her presentation. She included she would discourage pregnant females from frequently going to the region or becoming component of its entire-time workers.
Henshel’s remark about expecting women was introduced up by Hawk at the council meeting when she talked over her have history while functioning at Westinghouse, which experienced a Bloomington producing plant that used PCBs in the electrical capacitors it made in the 1960s.
Hawk mentioned she experienced been pregnant while functioning at the plant on the switchboard.
“At the time, (I) experienced no strategy that I was placing my daughter’s overall health at danger or my wellness at risk — and believe me, we have had a whole lot of reason to problem some of her health and fitness predicaments when she was little,” Hawk stated. “I keep that in close proximity to and expensive to my coronary heart, especially when we’re staying advised by the individual who’s searching into some of this is saying that ‘it would not be excellent for a pregnant human being or one who was nursing to be a portion of the staff there.'”
Council member Kate Wiltz, who also serves as president professional tempore, responded that Henshel’s pregnancy comment was referencing the quarry land directly south of the Hunter Valley Street homes. That quarry home is not currently up for purchase by the county.
County lawyer Margie Rice agreed with Wiltz that the particular pregnancy comment made by Henshel was not about these distinct properties.
In accordance to Rice, the Hunter Valley Street homes would deliver access to the quarry residence, but they are also “marketable properties” that could be resold if the county decides to not obtain the other property.
These houses on Hunter Valley Street do not have as wonderful of concern about the environmental threat, according to Rice. The quarry property nearby calls for “added investigatory do the job” that Henshel is at the moment conducting that will later variable into the county officials’ determination, Rice claimed.
According to Hawk, the buy of Hunter Valley Street attributes are portion of the larger quarry land proposal. Quarry land house is south of the Hunter Valley Highway qualities.
“We would have no want to obtain this (assets) if we failed to intend to obtain the other one, of course, simply because this county is not in the place to be buyers in authentic estate,” mentioned Hawk.
That isn’t really necessarily the scenario, Wiltz claimed. According to Wiltz, she spoke with a member of the redevelopment fee who “manufactured a circumstance for purchasing these (attributes) based mostly on right of way” for the Monroe County Freeway Division.
“If it helps make every person truly feel better to make whichever reason that you want to aid this — I will not intend to — I feel if the highway wished to acquire it for their ideal of way, they could have appear to us and that’s why we would say we are doing this for the freeway proper of way. Which is not what we are declaring below. Which is not the way it was presented,” Hawk responded.
Just before council feedback shut, Wiltz reported she preferred to acknowledge the “distressing background” of PCBs in the neighborhood.
“There are a lot of stories, a lot of tales close to this period of time of our historical past about the detrimental impacts of the PCBs that had been dumped there,” Wiltz explained. “I believe, in my view, ought to we transfer ahead with the other property, irrespective of these two (properties), I am hoping that the intent is to honor that tale (and) tell that story in the desire of truth of the matter and speaking reality but also in the interest of acknowledging what happened in our group that was genuinely distressing.”
According to Wiltz, the county turning into stewards of the quarry land could execute telling that tale. County officers have mentioned the land could be turned into a tribute to the community’s limestone heritage.
“I feel that’s a facet of parks and general public lands that we you should not frequently boost, but that is just about every little bit as crucial rationale to invest in and steward the house,” Wiltz stated.
In other information, county council also experienced its general public listening to on the 2022 spending plan no just one spoke. The first reading of the price range will be on Monday, Oct. 18.
Get hold of Rachel Smith at [email protected] or @RachelSmithNews on Twitter.
This report at first appeared on The Herald-Periods: Monroe County Council Ok property purchases in the vicinity of quarry