Cleaned-up Dump Will Become Athletic Fields - Erie News Now | WICU & WSEE in Erie, PA

Cleaned-up Dump Will Become Athletic Fields

24 acres of land behind Yorktown Plaza in Millcreek has been idle for many years.  It's an old toxic landfill. The owner abandoned the property and was not paying taxes on it.  The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) came up with $ 5 million to cleanup the site, with hopes of the land being developed.

"The program itself has to have a private developer behind it because they want a piece of the land turned back into a tax paying piece. So I have actually been working with DEP and with Millcreek since 2002," says local developer Rick Griffith.

Griffith was the successful bidder for the land after Erie County took it over and sold it at a tax sale.  Griffith will develop 4 acres of unpolluted land. He will donate the other 20 acres to Millcreek Township. The township will put in athletic fields on the land.

"That is what we're looking at," says Millcreek Supervisor Joe Kujawa. "One of the fields may be for lacrosse because that is the hottest thing going right now. It used to be softball. Then it was soccer. Now it's lacrosse."

The cleanup is a winning situation all around. Local governments get some idle space back on the tax rolls, thanks to Griffith.  Area children get additional recreation space, thanks to Millcreek Township.  And, thanks to the DEP cleanup, a source of pollution for many years, will be gone.

"We not only get the ball fields out of it, there's the west branch of Cascade Creek. Cascade Creek flows into Frontier Park. There's actually pollution coming out of this into that stream. So we get that whole stream cleaned up at the same time," says Griffith.

Griffith says acquiring the land may not have been his best financial deal, but it's one of the most satisfying. He says children will be using the new athletic fields for generations to come.

The new athletic fields will not be ready for use until the summer of 2014.



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