After nearly an entire year, the Standin' on the Corner Park may finally be cleaned up.
Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Director Steve Owens announced last week, that ADEQ is undertaking an effort to evaluate and clean up the fire-damaged building adjacent to the park, which has been closed to the public the entire time.
The park was closed after a fire gutted the former J.C. Penney/Rasco Building in October 2004. A mural is painted on an exterior wall of the building and is an integral part of the Standin' on the Corner park. Because of the fire damage, the wall is unstable, making the park unsafe for visitors.
Concerns about potential asbestos contamination in the charred building rubble have prevented efforts to remove the debris and reopen the park.
Owens said that Mayor Jim Boles asked ADEQ to help the city address the asbestos problem and develop a plan to clean up the debris.
"We've worked very closely with Mayor Boles to get this project started," said Owens. "This is a very important first step toward getting the building debris removed and eventually reopening the park."
"ADEQ has worked closely with us and local residents in an expeditious manner to get this issue resolved," said Boles. "We look forward to getting the building cleaned up and reopening the park as soon as possible."
Owens said that ADEQ will use funding available under the federal Brownfields program to conduct an assessment of the extent of the asbestos contamination and develop a plan to clean up the debris. Owens anticipated that a contractor to conduct the assessment would be hired by ADEQ by early November.
Owens added that ADEQ will work to identify a funding source for the clean up once the extent of asbestos contamination has been determined and the potential costs are identified.