Issuing an Earth Day warning about widespread contamination in Parramore, the Fight Back Coalition, the Central Florida Democratic Environmental Caucus and members of the local Sierra Club chapter launched a new community awareness campaign calling for more transparency, public outreach and direct action to help residents. The group also revealed a shocking detailed ground contamination map for the square-mile Parramore neighborhood based on official city records and a report by Environmental Data Resources which was funded by the city.
That environmental report details 454 contaminated site locations just within Parramore. All of the information and data presented originated from public records requests directly with the City of Orlando and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
However, Buddy Dyer and the City of Orlando have not been honest and transparent with local residents about the environmental and health concerns from the contamination. Dyer and the City have used the demographics and contamination of Parramore to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal grants.
But Dyer is only focused on cleaning up sites for Creative Village and the future soccer stadium. In fact, the city has already received $600,000 in federal grants to assess and cleanup those two sites.
The Earth Day action was held at the Parramore Community Garden, which sits just down the block from the former Gasification Plant Superfund site. That Superfund site is located in the 500 and 600 blocks of West Robinson Street downtown. But Mayor Dyer is spending thousands of taxpayer dollars fighting the legal responsibility to cleanup that site. Money that easily could have gone to the community instead of to lawyers. Residents and gardeners in the community garden this morning were shocked and disgusted to review the map and environmental information.
The residents and gardeners were most shocked that their own local city government and Mayor Buddy Dyer withheld this information from them for all this time and that the City Council seemed more concerned with developers than the people of Parramore.
Jim Callahan, with the Central Florida Democratic Environmental Caucus, described the types of chemicals and reasons for concern. He also summarized records about the gasification Superfund site located just down the block. Cynthia Harris discussed the major health disparities in the community as well as many other community concerns.
Fight Back Coalition organizers have long warned the City of Orlando about contamination in Parramore as well as environmental and health concerns with the Parramore Community Garden. Lawanna Gelzer even called on City Hall to promote raised gardening to protect against contamination, but the City of Orlando has yet to launch any such programs to help educate residents.
Today’s event kicks off a year-long awareness campaign on contamination in Orlando. Much more to come.