Pollution Taints Orlando Arena Plan

ORLANDO, FL (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Orlando taxpayers, who have already been contracted to pay $35.5 million for a chunk of land for a new multipurpose arena, may have to fork over an additional $1 million to clean up pollution at the site.

The Orlando City Council was never told about the underground contamination at the site when administrators asked them to approve the purchase months ago, despite the pollution being reported by a city consultant as early as 1994.

“There was no intention to mislead commissioners or hide it in any way,” Brie Turek, a spokesman for Mayor Buddy Dyer, told the Orlando Sentinel. “Current staff was not aware that more than a decade ago an environment assessment was done on this property.”

City officials said they will not know the full extent of the contamination, a widely used dry-cleaning and industrial solvent, or the true cost of clean-up until testing and a consult with state environmental regulators is completed. A consultant’s report from January estimated the cost at $1.1 million.

The 9.4-acre site covers six square blocks, and is one of the most visible parcels in downtown Orlando. The city approved a contract to buy the land in October. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers