Like many native Miamians, I grew up playing in the city’s parks. Dodgeball, monkey bars, baseball, frisbee – you name it, I played it. One of my favorite parks was Douglas Park on 37th Avenue, about halfway between Coral Way and Bird Road. At 10 acres, for many years it was one of the city’s largest parks and among the best parks for outdoor exercise and fun for people of all ages. I still live nearby, and as a parent now myself, I enjoyed taking my daughter and sons there after school or on weekends.
But in November 2013, the park was shuttered indefinitely after inspections found that Douglas and six other city parks contained unsafe levels of toxins in their soil, often a remnant of their former lives as dump sites. The county explained that the city could not reopen the parks without a contamination clean-up plan approved by the county’s environmental regulatory agency, the Department of Environmental Resources Management (DERM).
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