Cleaning up polluted soil at the site of the future Meadowbrook Park in Prairie Village will cost up to $200,000, but taxpayers aren’t expected to pay a dime.
The Prairie Village City Council on Monday considered an agreement with the developer that would cover environmental remediation at the former Meadowbrook Golf and County Club.
Environmental studies conducted by the Johnson County Park & Recreation District, which will develop the park, found that while most of the 82 acres designated for park land are clear of contaminants, a half-acre in the southwest corner of the property showed traces of petroleum hydrocarbons. These were likely left over from fuel spills when the area housed a maintenance shed.
While engineers found traces of hydrocarbons in groundwater on the site, they said surrounding test wells indicated the tainted water was contained on the site and not spreading into surrounding groundwater.
Under the remediation plan, workers will remove the top five feet of soil contaminated by the hydrocarbons and replace it with clean soil. After the cleanup, the engineers expect the site could be regularly used for park activities, although the Kansas Department of Health and Environment will ultimately have to sign off on the work.
Thomas Buchanan, an attorney representing the park district, said two engineering firms working on the environmental review estimated the remediation work would cost between $160,000 and $200,000.
The current landowner, VanTrust Real Estate, said it would pay for cleaning up the site and getting the KDHE clearance. Prairie Village plans to buy the 82 acres from VanTrust while VanTrust develops the golf course’s remaining 45 acres for a senior living center and a mix of single-family lots, luxury apartments, twin-home units and a boutique hotel.
As part of the agreement with the city, VanTrust — which will develop the property under the name MB-18 LLC — will set aside $400,000 of the payment it receives from Prairie Village in an escrow account and not be able to access that money until the remediation is done and the state has signed off on the work.
Buchanan said VanTrust agreed to set aside twice the estimated value of the remediation to be safe, but experts don’t expect the project to cost more than that.
Council members will take a final vote to approve the agreement with MB-18 and the park district at a special meeting on Monday.
At that meeting they will vote to move forward with selling $19 million in tax increment financing bonds to pay for the park land, park improvements and other public infrastructure to serve the new development. The city will pay off these bonds by diverting future increases in property taxes generated by the residential areas and senior center.
The council also will vote on selling industrial revenue bonds for the project, which will save the developers an estimated $1.7 million to $1.8 million in sales taxes. MB-18 has agreed to contribute those savings toward paying off the bonds.
In other business, the council said goodbye to two members and welcomed two new ones.
Incumbent council members Ruth Hopkins and David Morrison lost their re-election bids in the April 5 general election.
Hopkins, who represented Ward 2 and was first elected to the council in 1992, lost to Serena Schermoly. Morrison, who represented Ward 5 and was first elected to the council in 2008, lost to Courtney McFadden.
Schermoly and McFadden were sworn into office along with incumbents Ashley Weaver, Andrew Wang, Brooke Morehead and Ted Odell, who all won their races or ran unopposed.
City staff also announced that a one-year pilot project to recycle sheets, towels, curtains and other textiles through weekly curbside pickups in Prairie Village would be discontinued May 1.
Team Thrift, which operates thrift stores in the metro area, ran the program to benefit the Prairie Village Foundation, a charitable organization that supports the arts and parks and provides financial assistance to the needy.
Wes Jordan, assistant city administrator, said the project suffered a number of difficulties, including missed pickups and revenues far below expectations. Initial estimates called for the program to raise more than $50,000 for the foundation, but Jordan said so far it had raised only $300.
Jordan said the city notified Team Thrift that it was not interested in renewing its contract for another year. He said the group may continue to collect textiles in Prairie Village but will no longer be affiliated with the city.
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