6:38 PM EDT, September 13, 2012
The City of Indianapolis has been trying to clean up an illegal dump on 28th street and the Monon Trail for years, and there may have found the perfect opportunity to do just that using a certain federal grant. It would provide $500,000 for the cleanup.
"There is tons of debris that needs to be removed," said Monte McQuiston, a homeowner who lives near the dump.
There is an estimated 17,000 tons of debris that will need to be removed before the city and environmental officials can assess the degree of contamination that has occurred below. The property was used as an industrial site.
"There was a rail spur and a lumber yard, which are usually places of contamination from arsenic and other heavy metals," said Steven Meyer, the brownfield coordinator with the Indianapolis Department of Metropolitan Development.
Fox59 asked Meyer if the site poses a possible environmental and public health threat to the area. "Absolutely," said Meyer.
It is a big problem, but it is not the only one in the community that is just north of downtown Indianapolis. There are more than 200 contaminated sites, which are expensive eyesores in neighborhoods with nearly 70 percent poverty rates and plenty of residential vacancies.
"Our role is to fill in on the spots that are least attractive and secure problem parcels," said Janine Betsy, Director of the King Park Area Development Corporation.
The nonprofit, and its partners, are taking on the residential eyesores, they're rebuilding and building new thanks, in part, to some national recognition.
"It really allowed us to have a plan that funders can look at and say, 'Okay, we can have comprehensive impact with this type of investment,'" said Betsy.
The community is one of five communities across the United States that was picked as a Smart Growth District. It is a pilot program that got them started on a revitalization plan using local, state and federal resources and personnel.
"Sooner or later, we'll have the things we need to make this a growing community," said Pearl J. Carter, who said her family has lived in the area for generations.
Carter's home is just blocks away from the illegal dump, that if cleaned up, would present one less obstacle.
"I'm optimistic about the future of this neighborhood and definitely this parcel," said McQuiston.