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W.C. Reed Playfields Site

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Contact Information

Community Involvement Coordinator
Ginny Narsete
312-886-4359 or 800-621-8431, ext. 64359

For technical questions:
EPA On-Scene Coordinator
James Justice


(where to view written records)

Cleveland Public Library
Brooklyn Branch
3706 Pearl Rd.
Cleveland, OH 44109


W.C. Reed Playfields is a 12-acre Cleveland city park located in a residential area at the intersection of West 15th Street and Denison Avenue.

The city closed the park in December 2012 after soil tests found high levels of petroleum-based chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or PAHs. Sampling has shown that the contamination is located mainly within four feet of the surface soil.

Cleveland officials contacted EPA for assistance with the cleanup and have been working with EPA on a cleanup plan to address the contamination. After closing the park, the City erected a fence, but there are indications people still use the site.

EPA was asked to present information about the tentative cleanup plan in at a community meeting in March 2013. This meeting drew heavy interest from residents who expressed concerns about health effects from the pollution and the length of time the popular playfields would remain closed. Additionally, concerns were raised about plans to remove many of the park’s trees as part of the cleanup plan discussed.

Site Updates | Latest Update | Fact Sheets || Technical Documents || Legal Agreements

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Site Updates

February 2015

In late May 2014, the U.S. EPA started work to clean up the playfields.  The cleanup involved leaving most of the PAH-contaminated soil where it is and covering the park with clean soil.  The soil cap consists of 18 inches of foam fill material and 6 inches of topsoil.    Cleanup actions to date include the removal of the existing concrete sidewalks, asphalt basketball courts and half of the tennis courts. All but four oak trees were removed to allow for the construction of the soil cover. 

Fill material and topsoil were delivered to the playfields for the soil cover cap.  About 90 percent has been completed.   EPA also upgraded the parks stormwater drainage system and built swales around the perimeter to protect neighboring properties from runoff.   They installed utility conduit for future park lighting, put in gravel sub-base for future basketball courts and reseeded portions of the soil cover.  The U.S. EPA plans to complete the cleanup in 2015.  Sample results show 32 lots will require cleanup. EPA will work with property owners to schedule the cleanup.  Some of the remaining work that needs to be done will be transfer contaminated soil from the affected neighbors to the north east corner of the playfields to allow the parkland to reach final grade requirements. Complete reseeding of remaining portions of the park.

U.S. EPA will also make a final attempt to gain permission from the owners of the 20 remaining parcels that  need sampling.   Once permission is granted, the U.S. EPA will sample the properties for PAH’s.   They realize this disruptive pollution incident is an inconvenience, however they appreciate the community patience and understand during this time.  

EPA thanks the community for attending meetings, phone calls, stopping by the trailer to talk to staff if they have questions or concerns.  EPA will resume  cleanup in the late spring.  Further information such as frequently asked questions and other documents  can be found under fact sheets on this website.    

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