Josh RultenbergSep 25, 2017, 11:23 amSep 25, 2017, 11:24 am

Mayor: Mt. Vernon will spend $2M to clean tainted Memorial Field soil

At least 12,000 cubic yards of soil and debris dumped at Memorial Field without permits, report states

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Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas says the city will spend $2 million to remove a mound of tainted soil at Memorial Field. This comes after a report was released detailing soil sample results in which Mount Vernon settled with the state.

Thomas announced Sunday that it would cost approximately $300,000 to cap the mound, which is a lot cheaper than removing it. But he also said that clearing the soil now would give the city more flexibility when the field gets fully restored.

The report states at least 12,000 cubic yards of soil and debris were dumped at Memorial Field without permits. Thomas says he doesn't know who dumped it or who authorized the move.

"This is why I'm so passionate about this field,” says Thomas. “I played football here. Many of you that are here graduated on this field."

Thomas told The Journal News that he met with the State Department of Environmental Conservation to figure out how to move forward.

Officials pointed to two tests in 2015, which revealed that the mound contained coal, ash and slag.

Thomas says it’s unfair to hold the city responsible even after paying a $40,000 fine earlier this year.

"We're lucky that what was put there is not as toxic or contaminated as what was put at Roberto Clemente park," says Thomas.

Former Mayor Ernie Davis left office in 2015 without restoring the field despite a multi-million dollar renovation fund in place that was co-funded by the city and Westchester County.

The field partially reopened this year.

Thomas also told people Sunday that he wants to have a running track ready at the site by November. And once the mound is cleared, he would like a 300-space parking garage to be put in its place because parking there is currently limited.

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