Richmond kicks off restoration of Miraflores site

March 30, 2011 1:01:21 PM PDT
In Richmond, a toxic site is being turned into clean, green jobs, housing and open space. The new space will be developed at 47th Street and Florida Avenue.

For decades, the 14 acre Miraflores site in Richmond was a nursery. Over that time, tons of pesticides and herbicides were sprayed on the plants - so much so that it has been declared a toxic waste site. As of today, the city of Richmond and the state of California are starting to change all of that. It is time to say goodbye to the greenhouses that occupy this site and hello to a new community.

First, the cleanup - federal and state EPAs are involved. The federal government is providing the $600,000 in seed money for the cleanup of the area. The Richmond Community Redevelopment Agency, which purchased the site in 2006, is now moving ahead with the very green and job producing project.

"It will be a LEED certified community. So it will be a green community. Green belts that they are putting in to the design, as well as an urban forest, which we believe will help reduce greenhouse gases and offset some of the carbon that was put off by communities such as these," said Cal. Environmental Restoration Pgm Stewart Black.

"By cleaning up the site, there are a number of jobs that are available through the hazardous materials cleanup portion of this site. And then when the new construction happens of the housing, there will be even more job opportunities," said Richmond Redevelopment Agency Natalia Lawrence.

One historical note, these greenhouses were owned by a Japanese family which managed to hang on to it through internment during World War II. But by 2006 all that remained was a carnation distribution business and lots of chemicals like lead, benzene and PCE.

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