Cascades Park is ahead of renovation schedule.
Cascades Park is a 12-acre park along the stream of the St. Augustine Branch, which runs through Tallahassee south of the Florida State Capitol.
Because it influenced the territorial government’s choice of Tallahassee’s location, it is known as a Nationally Registered Historic Place.
As of 2006, most of the park was closed to the public because of soil and water contamination by coal tar released by a manufactured gas plant.
In September 2005, the city made an agreement with WRS Infrastructure & Environment to clean up the site for $7.8 million dollars.
“This will stimulate the economy and will help jobs in this community,” said John Marks, Mayor of Tallahassee. “So I’m very, very happy that we can move forward with it. We’ve got some monies now that we can help in this regard.”
The plans are to excavate more 70,000 tons of contaminated soil and transport it to an EPA-approved landfill in Valdosta, Ga., to remove three inches of sediment from 950 feet of the stream, install a protective liner and to place a clay cap over 5,750 square yards of the landfill.
The project is currently reported to be ahead of schedule, and completion is expected by the end of November.
Leatrice Blatch, a junior psychology student from Cocoa Beach, Fla., said she supports any project that will attract more people to Tallahassee.
“I think it’s a good idea that Tallahassee will take the time to correct damage that’s done to its local environment before it becomes any type of problem,” said Blatch.
Cascade Park is known as Segment 2 of the four-segment Capital Cascade Trail project. It will extend 4.25 miles through the heart of Tallahassee.
The purpose of the project is to improve storm water storage capacity and water quality while simultaneously providing green space and a linear trail for the community. The trail will eventually begin at East Tennessee Street and extend southwest to Lake Munson at Springhill Road; it follows the St. Augustine Branch and then the Central Drainage Ditch from Gamble Street South.
This trail will connect the downtown with the St. Marks Trail and will establish an urban-to-rural greenway for the city.
“This project will generate more business for all of Tallahassee and with Florida A&M being so close to the location, it gives us a chance to attract more students and businesses all around campus,” said Christopher Simmons, a junior from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.