Genesis Designed Park Gets National Recognition From EPA


Genesis Designed Park Gets National Recognition From EPA

Posted on 2008-10-31 by Craig H. Anderson

The City of Tallahassee, Florida has been awarded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) first ever "Excellence in Site Reuse" Award for its Capital Cascades Park. Genesis was the lead designer for this park as part of a 5,146 acre Capital Cascade Trail Master Plan project.

From the News Release

Cascades Contaminant Clean-Up Harvests National Recognition

October 29

EPA Gives City First Award for Excellence in Site Reuse - History was made again in Cascades Park today as the City of Tallahassee received the "Excellence in Site Reuse" Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Today marked the first time EPA has ever given this award, which recognizes the City's innovative and environmentally sensitive work to remove contaminants from the area so it can be developed into a world-class public park.

"The City of Tallahassee was proactive and innovative in addressing the many complex issues associated with this project," said Franklin Hill, director of the Superfund Division for the EPA. "It gives me great pleasure to be able to present this award to the City for their commitment and efforts to protect human health and the environment."

"This award marks the beginning of a new chapter in the life of Cascades Park," said Mayor John Marks. "Thanks to the tremendous clean up effort, we are on our way to returning the site to its original splendor and allowing another wave of Tallahasseeans to discover the spirit of Cascades that led to the settlement of our great town." The City acquired various properties comprising the Cascades Park in the 1800s and over time used the properties for several municipal purposes, including a manufactured gas plant, electric power plant, incinerator and fleet operations. The park at one time also included recreational facilities, such as the historic Centennial Field ballpark and a true "babbling brook," from whence came the name of the site.

Cascades Park, located between Monroe, Gaines and Bloxham streets, and the CSX Railroad, was owned by the State from 1966 to 2004, when an agreement was signed between the City and State to return ownership of the property to the City. The park has not been available for public use for nearly 20 years due to contaminated soils on park properties after contamination was discovered in the late 1980s. In the late 1990s the City and State began work at the site to determine the extent of contamination, and in 2006 the City, now as sole owner of the property, contracted with WRScompass to remove contamination. The clean-up activities removed over 80,000 tons of contaminated soil. The project is now in a long-term groundwater-monitoring phase.

"We would like to applaud the City of Tallahassee and the many other partners in this project for their long-term vision and support for the revitalization of downtown Tallahassee and Cascades Park," said Mary Jean Yon, director of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Waste Management. "To be able to return this property to use as a park is the perfect endpoint in the waste cleanup process. Together, the city of Tallahassee, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Management Services, along with DEP, made that happen by investing $7.8 million to clean up and revitalize this former manufactured gas plant."

The redevelopment of Cascades Park is considered the key component of Blueprint 2000's Capital Cascades Park project.

Koren Taylor, Environmental Policy and Energy Resources, 891-8703; or David Cannon, Communications, 891-8533