For nearly the first six months of the year, the Zionsville Redevelopment Commission was looking into environmental issues and the feasibility of purchasing the former Dow Chemical site.
In late May, it was finally announced the town and Zionsville Community Schools had come together to purchase the 94-acre property along 106th Street between Zionsville Road and Bennett Parkway.
ZCS assisted the town in acquiring the land for development by using money from a 2005 bond. The schools will receive guaranteed payback plus interest and a share of the tax proceeds derived from development on the property.
"We are grateful for the Town of Zionsville professional staff, RDC members, and elected leaders on the Town Council," ZCS Board of Trustees President Jim Longest said in a press release. "These are leaders who understand well that we must share in community successes and challenges so as to apply the maximum stretch to every taxpayer dollar."
The commission spent two and a half hours during one meeting discussing the proposed land deal and the Phase I environmental study.
Brian Wilson, a principal with August Mack Environmental, said the study looked at site inspection, historical review, regulatory files and interviews.
"There have been a number of investigations concerning the site," he said. "We found that after the buildings were demolished in the late 1980s, there was a lot of debris and waste deposited on the site. There were a number of chemicals of concern that were all at a low level and not harmful to human health."
Wilson said Dow entered into a Voluntary Remediation Program through the Indiana Department of Environmental Management in 1996.
"There was about 100,000 cubic yards of waste excavated from the site, and 31 tons of impacted soils that were removed," he said. "In 2008, the site was split into Remediation Area 1 and Remediation Area 2. The first area received a certificate of completion in 2004; the second area is still ongoing."
Wilson said there were still some concerns with the site.
"Following all of the work done for the VRP, there was no confirmatory work performed," he said. "With the VRP in the late 90s, the requirement to clean up the site standards are not what they are today; so, vapor intrusion is a concern. That is something that is newer and wasn't really looked at back then. We feel that it should be looked at just because things have changed since (the remediation was completed)."
Commissioner Luke Phenicie said he does not have much background in environmental issues and asked how the site looked compared to other sites.
"It looks very standard for a VRP site," Wilson said. "The VRP is one of the most stringent programs, and so there is more protection."
Phenicie also asked who would hold responsibility if there are environmental concerns and the deal is passed.
See Wednesday's Times Sentinel for the full story.