Researchers, advocates, working to take away contamination from East Greensboro Park

GREENSBORO, NC – A team of researchers, attorneys, and residents of Cottage Grove are working with the North Carolina Department of the Environment to clean up contamination in Bingham Park.

The park was built on an unlined landfill that was in use until the mid-1950s.

“You’ve talked about it and about it for years. I think they’re finally going to get something done, ”said Verna Torain, president of the Cottage Grove Neighborhood Association.

Torain has lived in the community for about 30 years and hopes the redevelopment will help revitalize the park.

“We don’t want a patch-up deal,” she said.

Researchers plan to collect water and soil samples over the next few weeks to better understand contamination and the effects of toxins on nearby Buffalo Creek.

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“Walking through a park that is contaminated with various metals and similar things can affect your health,” said Patricia Macfoy, executive director of the New Hope Community Development Group.

The team also surveys people in the area about their health conditions.

“Pull off cancer registrations to understand the impact a landfill has directly on your community and the long-term health implications it will have,” said Sel MPang, community worker with the Greensboro Housing Coalition.

She said proponents are working with NCDEQ on a plan for a long-term solution to the redevelopment.

“There were two options the department presented to us. One of them we thought was a band-aid solution,” she said.

Bingham Park is one of about 700 similar locations in the state.

“This is an environmental injustice, it mostly happens in African American communities,” Macfoy said.

There is no set schedule for changes at Bingham Park. Researchers said one of the challenges to distance was how close the park was to nearby homes.

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