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Brownfields Success: Lancaster County, PA

Roberto Clemente Park

What do baseball and the U.S. EPA Brownfields Program have in common? How about the successful renewal of the Roberto Clemente Park in Lancaster, Pennsylvania! Roberto Clemente Park was a remnant of 1960’s-era urban renewal; once a place of community pride and celebration, the park fell into disarray and became a poorly maintained, underutilized, and potentially contaminated brownfi eld in one of Lancaster’s oldest communities, where one-third of the residents live in poverty.

The completed Roberto Clemente Park.

The completed Roberto Clemente Park.

In 1998, the Inner City Group, a nonprofi t coalition of neighborhood-based organizations, was charged with revitalizing this once vibrant and celebrated park as part of a larger economic development effort in the community. After discovering buried demolition debris early in the design phase of the project, the Inner City Group enlisted the assistance of the Lancaster County Planning Commission. The Commission used a portion of its $250,000 EPA Brownfi elds Assessment grant to conduct a Phase I assessment for the 3.5 acre park. Upon discovering that the park had once been home to a scrap yard, dry cleaner, and umbrella handle manufacturer, a Phase II assessment followed. The assessment revealed scattered arsenic and lead contamination in soils and tetrachloroethene in groundwater. Next came the cleanup plan; cleanup conducted according to the Special Industrial Area provisions of Pennsylvania's Voluntary Cleanup Program ("Act 2"), involved excavating several "hot spots," conducting a risk assessment, and applying Deed Restrictions.

In total, more than $153,000 of EPA Brownfield Pilot grant funding was used at the site, leveraging another $700,000 in public and private funds for the redevelopment of Roberto Clemente Park.

Roberto Clemente, Jr. cutting the ribbon in the opening day ceremony

Roberto Clemente, Jr. cutting the ribbon in the opening day ceremony
of Roberto Clemente Park, May 7, 2005

On May 7, 2005, EPA Region 3’s Hazardous Site Cleanup Division Director, Abe Ferdas, and Roberto Clemente, Jr. joined state and county offi cials and members of the South Duke Street community at a ribbon cutting ceremony in downtown Lancaster to offi cially open the newly redeveloped Roberto Clemente Park and ball fi eld. The park features a new walking path and a state-of-the-art baseball diamond for youth and adult leagues as well as the general public to use and enjoy. The park also features a tribute to Roberto Clemente, the fi rst Latino admitted to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. A sign at the park notes the assistance provided by the U.S. EPA and other organizations and includes a quote from Clemente, “Any time you have the opportunity to make a difference in the world and you don’t, then you are wasting your time on earth.”

Region 3 | Mid-Atlantic Cleanup | Mid-Atlantic Brownfields & Land Revitalization


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