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Davie Landfill/Vista View Park Site Video Transcript

Richard Meyers: Good afternoon I'm Richard Meyers with the Broward County Solid Waste Operations Division. We're sitting here at Vista View Park, a county regional park. It's formerly the Davie Landfill. It operated as a landfill from 1964 to 1987.

And through a collaboration and working with EPA along with Broward County and the town of Davie, the Solid Waste Operations Division has worked closely with the Parks and Recreation Department of Broward County to construct a facility to the benefit of the community. We've gone from an old landfill facility and having the connotations of a landfill to a regional park that just is a beautiful area.

There's all sorts of recreational activity that's going on on this property and is a real benefit to the residents. It provides additional open space and recreational area for the residents, and it's really been widely used since it opened in 2003 and continues to get additional use since it was expanded in 2009.

We're sitting here on the south side of the facility, looking at the backdrop at the south side of the landfill, and it's just a tremendous view that it offers from the top as well as from the bottom of the landfill, and it now being a park, it just provides a lot of benefits to the community. There are fishing piers and walking trails and equestrian trails and beautiful playground facilities as well as pavilions and so forth and it just adds tremendous value and can just show what reuse and proper reuse of a facility can do, again, going from an old landfill to a regional park of such beauty. We're very proud of this facility.

Dan West: On behalf of Broward County Parks and Recreation staff, we welcome you to Vista View Park. Henry David Thoreau, if you've read any of his works, he once said, to affect the quality of life, that is the highest of arts. And I think this park reflects that visionary leadership by a number of people, a number of agencies, the Board of Commission, to be able to make that a reality today. And I think that's why we're here, so it's a fitting occasion for that. First, I would like to welcome our welcome speaker, and that is Vice Mayor Gunzburger.
       
Sue Gunzburger: Thank you, Dan. I appreciate the remarks.

Many, many, many, many moons ago, I was on the board of directors of something that is no longer in business, and it was called  the Environmental Coalition of Broward County. The environment has been something I really care about, and green is one of my-- it's my campaign color as well as where my heart is besides those other two things that you have mentioned.

Vista View Park  is receiving the Excellence in Site Reuse Award from the Environmental Protection Agency. There are only two other sites in Florida that have been given this award. The park opened to the public in July--oh, on my birthday-- July 12, 2003.  Well, that says it all right there.

The site previously served as the county's landfill from 1964 through '87.  It was removed from the EPA's National Priorities List in 2006 after a cleanup supervised by the agency. The EPA has continued to monitor the site to ensure its safety for public access.

And I am so happy to be here today. The major wishes to have been here, but unfortunately he's in Paris, France, and I know we-- you know, it's a bit of a trip.  But I was happy to take his place. Thank you for including me. . .

Marlin Lewis: As a councilmember here in District 4 in Davie, I've been blessed in the short time that I've been on council that we've had three parks that opened that are county parks. We've had LeRoy Collins, we've had Long Key, and we've had this Vista View extension.

Of those three, Vista View is probably my favorite because of what it represents. When you talk about taking something that was bad and making it good and beautiful, this is such a beautiful example. This is my district, and when I talk to residents, they used to tell me, "Oh, I live near the dump." "I live near the dump." I haven't heard that in a long time.

People say, "Oh, I'm near that beautiful park, Vista View." "I'm right near Vista View."

I haven't heard that negative connotation in a long time. And for that, as a Davie resident, as a councilmember, I thank everyone involved in this for the foresight and the work  that you all have put into this park. Thank you very much.

Ram Tewari: and honorable guests and colleagues, because there are many colleagues who have helped in this project converting a Superfund site to a super park.  I think, as was mentioned, that Superfund-- other people will not like to hear about Superfund. But now it is a super park which is liked by everyone.

I want to thank the U.S. EPA, that they led us, they worked with us, and they played a major role in converting this dump into a super park. And I want to thank U.S. EPA team for that. On the top of that, they did recognize us, saying this is the only third award given by U.S. EPA Region Four. So we are really honored and thankful for recognizing us.

Dan West: With that, I'd like to turn it over to the award person or persons that will give the award. David Keefer is the chief of Superfund Remedial Program, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency out of Region Four,  so, David...

David Keefer:  Thank you very much.

Thank you all, and good morning.

As she said, I'm David Keefer,  with the Region Four Superfund Remedial Program. I'm here representing Franklin Hill, our director. Franklin regrets that he can't be here. Of all the many things that Franklin gets to do, these Reuse Awards are his absolute favorite. And this site in particular, our project manager, Bill Denman, has made sure  that everyone in Region Four is aware of the work you've done here in Davie.  Your pictures are everywhere. And so Franklin regrets deeply not being here. Franklin is our lead for Region Four on the BP oil spill response. Region Four encompasses eight states: Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and the states to the north. 

In 1999, the EPA created the Superfund Reuse Initiative.  Mr. Denman volunteered to be our representative and has been helping us with that ever since. Region Four is the only region in the country to have developed an Excellence in Site Reuse Award. It's now being developed into a national model.  So not only will you have one of the very few in the region. You'll have one of the very few in the country.

Something we've noticed is that--the success is that these Reuse Awards represent all share some common themes. And what those common themes are is a few individuals that share a vision and dedication, and they hold on to those things for years as they move forward and make reuse success stories like this happen.

Many people have contributed, but in particular, some people that need to be recognized are Richard Meyers, Ram Tewari, Richard Dennis, and Mary Beth, I'm going to get your last name wrong.  I have to put on my glasses.

Busutil. Yeah.

So these individuals are the ones that have had the vision and have stuck with this project through the time to make it happen.

Also the support of state and local government have been critical. In fact, in the case of this project, I think it's fair to say that EPA's role-- responsible for the cleanup of the sludge ponds and the groundwater-- is somewhat dwarfed by the role of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, which is: put up these landfill caps and regulates those.  Jack, whose--didn't bring any prepared remarks, but he represents the organization  that's really responsible for everything you see aboveground.

So... So skipping over the history, I'd like to now read a letter from Franklin Hill, the Director of our Superfund Division, to the Broward County Board of County Commissioners. It's gonna be challenging.

"Dear commissioners, as Director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Region 4 Superfund Division, it gives me great pleasure to present to Broward County "the Excellence in Site Reuse Award." EPA is presenting Broward County this award in recognition of its efforts in  redeveloping the Davie Landfill Superfund Site in a manner which enhanced EPA's selected remedy and resulted in the development of a valuable resource for the surrounding community and the county as a whole. Broward County saw the potential for the site of the former Davie Landfill to be used as a park early on, even before EPA encouraged the reuse of Superfund sites. While Broward County was closing the landfill and cleaning up the site, it installed much of the infrastructure for the site to eventually be used as a park. After the landfill was closed, Broward County secured funding, and Vista View Park opened in July 2003.  The park's popularity led Broward County to purchase more land around it and expand the park in November 2009. Activities in the park include horseback riding, biking, fitness trail, rollerblading,  paragliding, primitive camping, radio-controlled model aeronautics and boating, catch-and-release fishing, and many other types of passive use.  There are also two playgrounds at the park, one of them, as we heard before, has been awarded the Boundless Playgrounds-- has been recognized for exceeding the minimum requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act. EPA supports the redevelopment of contaminated properties  and views the revitalization of communities affected by contaminated properties as a key component of its mission to protect human health and the environment. Region 4 created the "Excellence in Site Reuse Award" to recognize those who have gone above and beyond  in redeveloping superfund sites. Broward County has certainly demonstrated this through your forward thinking and persistence to redevelop this site into the Vista View Park, which can be enjoyed by all of your citizens. Thank you for your efforts."

Sincerely,
Franklin E. Hill, Director Superfund Division EPA, Region 4.

Now, I have a number of certificates before we give out the award, and I would like to call people forward.  If you need assistance, just let me know, and we'll bring the certificate to you.

The Broward County Parks and Recreation Division, in recognition of your key role in the cleanup and redevelopment of the Davie Landfill Superfund Site Vista View Park from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 4, signed by Franklin Hill. [applause]

The Broward County Board of County Commissioners.

Thank you. - Thank you.

 Mary Beth Busutil. [applause]

Joe Lurix.

I'm Jack.

Okay.

I'll take it.

Jernigan Incorporated.

So now we have the award. So I'll share it with everybody. I'm not sure who's going to receive it.

Commissioner Gunzburger. Mm-hmm.

We keep it in a nicely padded box.  It's better than keeping us in a padded room.

This is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 4 "Excellence in Site Reuse" Award awarded to Broward County presented by Franklin Hill, Director EPA Region Four Superfund Division.

That concludes the ceremony.

We've got some light refreshments back here. Please feel free to join us. And thank you very much.


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