America the Beautiful Park, south of Colorado Avenue, sometimes seems like a little slice of paradise. In its 21-plus acres lie a fountain, grassy areas, playground equipment and the like. Many fun runs and walks start and end there.
But the eight-year-old park may now harbor some dangerous dirt blown there from across Cimino Drive, where the city recently demolished a couple buildings on a site known to contain cancer-causing hydrocarbons. At least, that's a reasonable worry given that outside the nearby Trestle Building — home to a number of offices, including those of the Smokebrush Foundation — tests show the presence of carcinogens like benzo(a)pyrene, chrysene and benzo(b)fluoranthene in the soil.
The city insists that the work it's done on site goes "well beyond required environmental protections." And undoubtedly it wants to see the property restored correctly, especially since it could one day be part of a huge renewal project in the area.
But it's hard to ignore the complaints from Smokebrush founder Katherine Tudor, who claims to have firsthand knowledge of the demolition being poorly managed. After she immediately alerted city officials that toxic material could be floating onto neighboring properties, she was told she was holding up progress. Tudor had to file a lawsuit, and threaten to seek an injunction, to prove she was serious.
Her soil-test results have her worried, but the treatment she's received has her baffled. Maybe you will be, too, when you read the cover story, here.