Lead Found in Bayfront Park, Taxpayers Will Suffer

Miami has for decades subjected its citizens to poison.

Now lead has been discovered in Bayfront Park, which was founded in 1925 and has long been considered Mami's version of New York's Central Park, the Miami Herald's Jenny Staletovich is reporting this morning.

This follows months of dispatches from Staletovich and New Times writer David Villano about dozens of other poisoned parks, several of which have been closed.

See also: Miami's Toxic Parks

The city is spending millions of dollars to survey and clean up its parks, many of which were covered with toxic ash from incinerators for years. Merrie Christmas Park in Coconut Grove was temporarily closed. Parts or all of several others, including Douglas Park, have also been shuttered. Baseball fields are filled with dangerous material. Some particularly lethal areas have been paved over or covered with rubber walkways.

The lead in Bayfront Park was discovered in a grove of trees near some walkways in the central part of the facility. It was six inches or so below the surface -- above allowable limits, but not considered hazardous. More, though, is likely to be found as follow-up research continues.

Bayfront is Miami's most significant park and was among its first. It was built on fill from the bay bottom, which might have been dangerously polluted. The city has spent tens of millions of dollars dressing it up, and it has been the centerpiece of downtown's recent renaissance. It is also infamous because a gunman tried to assassinate President Franklin D. Roosevelt there in 1933. Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak was killed in the attack.

In any case, the new find raises the question of when the first lawsuit will be filed against the city. The poisons found at Miami parks may well have contributed to cancers across the region. Researchers are said to be looking into one plume already, according to Villano.

People, perhaps thousands of them, have likely died -- directly or indirectly -- because of the city's carelessness and profligacy. This in the end will likely lead to significant expense to those who live in the city.

Thanks to those who are working to clean it up, but this find will no doubt hurt Miami more than we can guess today.

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