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Toxins Found In Soil Closes Liberty City Park

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MIAMI (CBS4) – It’s a hidden danger under a Miami Park.  One community is outraged after learning their neighborhood harbors dangerous toxins.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen around here day to day,” said concerned neighbor Mary Levy.  “That’s the scary part about living in this area.”

Levy’s six nieces and nephews love to play at Olinda Park in Liberty City.  That was until two months ago when the recreational area was fenced-up and suddenly shut down.

“We don’t know what dangers are lurking out here for our children and that’s what we have to be afraid of,” said Levy.  “I am beyond angry.”

The Environmental Protection Agency determined poisonous elements in the soil of more than two acres at Olinda Park along Northwest 51st Street.

Alex Munoz, Deputy Director of Parks for Miami-Dade County, says the soil testing in the park determined levels that are unacceptable for human contact.

The EPA contacted Miami-Dade County who did further testing in the area and determined dangerous levels of arsenic, cooper, lead, thallium and more.

“How is that possible?,” said Natrena Budget, who lives right across the street from the contaminated area with her children.  “It’s a park!”

Muniz says it is very possible.  That’s because the park is built on top a former landfill that operated back in the 1930’s and 1940’s.

The county says it is fairly common to build parks over old landfills. Now they’re removing the contaminated areas and replacing them with new clean soil.

Many youngsters in the neighborhood aren’t allowed outside because they live so close to the contaminated area.

The county says the park will be back open in two to three months and safe for everyone.

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