Developers announce they won’t dig up toxic dirt, citing community concerns

Brooklyn Daily
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They want to clear the air.

Developers bowed to community pressure in Brighton Beach and announced they won’t dig up a cache of toxic chemicals while building a 40-story tower atop the Trump Village Shopping Center. Cammeby’s International is asking the state to let it put up the condos without first cleaning up hazardous materials left more than a dozen feet underground by a gas-manufacturing plant that once operated there. Critics warned digging up the century-old contaminants would endanger neighbors, and developers announced a plan to seal the tainted earth and build over top of it with a special foundation after locals raised alarm bells when they saw contractors digging last week.

“The community opened our eyes to this,” a spokesman said. “We are trying to make sure that this doesn’t get exposed form now to the end of the world.”

The developers still need the green light from the Department of Environmental Conservation, the spokesman said. The agency did not immediately return a request for comment.

The site at Neptune Avenue and W. Fifth Street was home to the Dangman Park Manufactured Gas Plant from the 1880s to 1918, which left soil riddled with contaminants, including coal tar and cyanide, according to a 2011 soil report. The company that operated the plant eventually became National Grid, so the utility would be responsible for any cleanup.

Developers also announced the shopping center’s CVS will remain open throughout and after construction, delighting area seniors who feared they’d lose their closest pharmacy to the wrecking ball.

“That’s wonderful,” said Phyllis Pomerantz, a resident of nearby Brightwater Towers. “It’s a whole way of life, I don’t have a vehicle, everything is walking distance.”

Still, the billionaire development company must do a better job keeping the little guy in the know — the last time it met with community members was a year ago, another neighbor of the development said.

“We don’t know much about what they are doing,” said Trump Village resident Sol Cooperman. “We’re pretty much in the dark about everything. At least hold another meeting. The community has a right to know.”

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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