Belleville alderwomen: 'Money pit' park seemingly built on dumping ground

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by KMOV.com Staff

KMOV.com

Posted on June 10, 2013 at 10:43 PM

(KMOV.com) -- City leaders in one Metro East town say a brand new city park is a danger to the community.

Monday, a state agency is stepping in after aldermen say frequent flooding at Bicennetenial Park in Belleville revealed a potential dumping ground of dangerous waste.

“We’ve got a dangerous situation here and it’s not being properly addressed,” said Alderwoman Melinda Hult

Hult and fellow Alderwoman Lillian Schneider say the mayor has poured too much money into the park that wasn’t properly planned in the first place.

They worry the flow of funds won’t end, as floods have caused significant damage twice in two months.

“It’s just not practical to keep pouring money into this money pit, it has to end,” Hult said.

But the floods exposed tires, tin roofing, concrete slabs, and other construction materials.

News 4 learned the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency had to tell the city engineer to clean it up.

Instead, Hult and Schneider fear he only applied a quick fix. Underneath, they worry the debris field could be widespread.

The engineer did not return calls Monday. Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert said he was too busy for an interview.

“If you had old tires and debris in your yard and you covered it up with dirt, you’d be in trouble with authorities and the rules should apply to the city as well,” Hult said. “We shouldn’t get away with this.”

Illinois EPA officials say they are still working on the best course of action. 

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