“I think they are doing a wonderful job now,” Beatrice Moore said Tuesday on her front porch, where she had a view of the work going on nearby.
“It’s already making it look better than what it was, just looking at it,” she said. “You know, moving all the rubbish and stuff and if they do what they talked about in the meeting, I think it’s going to be OK.”
The cleanup effort at the old Chalkline property between 10th and 13th streets is three weeks ahead of schedule because of nice weather, and Anniston city planner Toby Bennington said it should wrap up in about two weeks.
“The last two weeks we’re going to be kind of getting things prettied up a little more,” said Doug Bullock, owner of Bullock Environmental, which is managing the project.
The city received a $400,000 grant three years ago to clean up the property and create a master plan for its use, Bennington said. The cleanup started almost two months ago under the supervision of Bullock Environmental and Action Environmental.
The property had some arsenic contamination in the soil and piles of debris containing asbestos. After testing the piles for metals and asbestos, Bullock found there was less asbestos contamination than originally estimated and was able to get the work done quickly. The company is preparing to haul away the arsenic-contaminated soil to a landfill regulated to accept such waste.
The chemical contamination at the site worried the Moores. They had attended several informational meetings about the project.
“We knew it was chemicals and stuff down there,” Beatrice Moore said. “I was concerned at first about the dust. … You know we live right in the midst of it.”
However, they’ve been pleased with the measures to keep the contaminants contained. The workers used sprinklers to keep the dust down and stop the spread of the potentially contaminated dust, she said.
Once the project is complete, the city will have to wait for Alabama Department of Environmental Management to confirm the site is clean before moving ahead with its plans. Bennington said the city would like to see mixed-use development in the area, including some public buildings, open, green space and a continuation of the business district. The city is considering a community garden, a connector to the Chief Ladiga Trail and a civil rights museum, but there are no firm plans.
“Public buildings, open space, more connecting the west Anniston community and downtown,” Bennington said.
The Moores have similar ideas in mind.
“Just something that’s real nice going to help the community be better, look better and bring in something good for Anniston and the neighborhood,” Beatrice Moore said.
Contact staff writer Laura Camper at 256-235-3545.