GOAL - Ryan Tolmich
The proposed site for Inter Miami's MLS stadium is far more toxic than previously expected, according to a recent study, with worse-than-expected arsenic contamination and contaminated soil samples that present a “physical hazard".
A recent study has revealed the extent of environmental issues at the proposed location of the MLS stadium as part of a $1 billion commercial complex.
The club and city are negotiating terms of a 99-year lease that would allow Inter Miami to build a complex that would include the club's 25,000-seat stadium as well as a hotel, office, shopping center, and soccer fields on the roof of a parking facility.
The site, Miami's only city-owned golf course, is littered with pollution underneath the grass according to the club's analysis with testing revealing that contamination levels are at twice the allowable limit for arsenic while also exceeding the legal limits of barium and lead.
The site, once was a dumping site for incinerator ash, was also tested by the county Department of Environmental Resources Management (DERM), which found high concentrations of lead in the soil.
“This obviously causes great concerns,” said Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, according to the Miami Herald. “We’re glad this event has caused us to test the site.”
He added: “Basically, the site has significantly more contamination than what is commercially reasonable."
Inter Miami officials previously estimated that a site cleanup would cost roughly $35 million, but Suarez says that team officials have recently revised that number to somewhere exceeding $50 million.
Club owner Jorge Mas has stated that the team will pay for the full cleanup of the area should the cost come within the range of a $35 million budget, although attorneys for Inter Miami said the final price will depend on what DERM ends up approving for a plan to fix up the proposed site.
Commissioner Ken Russell, the chairman of Miami’s commission, said that Inter Miami is continuing to insist that the club will pay for the site cleanup.
“From the initial briefing I received today, however, we know what we are dealing with, and it must be remediated to a level that is safe for kids to play," he said.
Inter Miami will begin play in 2020, playing at a temporary home in Fort Lauderdale until the expected completion of their stadium in 2022.
The club has signed three players ahead of its inaugural season: forward Julian Carranza, midfielder Matias Pellegrini and defender Christian Makoun.