Garbage at fairgrounds draws state officials’ concern
It looks as if the Leavenworth County Fair Board has some cleaning up to do.
On Monday afternoon, an inspector from the northeast district office of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment took a tour of the parking lot construction around the soccer and baseball fields in the back of the Leavenworth County Fairgrounds. The tour was to make sure the city was not illegally burying or using solid waste material with the excess construction material as fill for the parking lot.
The city passed the inspection, but a KDHE official said the inspector had concerns about garbage that she had seen at the fairgrounds.
Julie Coleman, district environmental administrator for KDHE's northeast district office said the inspector "observed a accumulation of construction, demolition and solid waste still on the property. She has placed a call with the Leavenworth County Fairground's board and provided them direction for proper disposal of the waste."
Marcia Cook said she and several other parents whose children use the recreational fields at the fairgrounds for sports had noticed the accumulation of garbage.
"It just looked like they were dumping some of the trash into the waterway," Cook said.
Besides some of the discarded food and beverage containers, Cook said she also saw a dilapidated trailer, a plastic barrel and other construction waste.
Tonganoxie city superintendent Butch Rodgers Rodgers said he had noticed the garbage that had been collecting on parts of the creek that run along the fields and the new parking lot. He said he has noticed debris being collected their for a number of years and has seen some lumber being stockpiled in the area.
"Some of it goes as far back from the tornado from 2000," he said.
The KDHE inspector's report comes as news to Dave Todd, president of the Leavenworth County Fair Board. The board owns the fairgrounds and is legally responsible for cleaning up the solid waste.
"I don't know of any garbage back there. There shouldn't be any garbage. I was back there just a little over a month ago and there wasn't anything over there at that time as far as garbage," Todd said, noting he was aware of the debris from the tornado.
"As soon as somebody notifies me, yeah, we'll respond appropriately," he said. "If it is something that has to be hauled off, it's not an issue for us."
Many years ago the fair board had received a letter from KDHE about complaints of peoples garbage being dumped at the fairgrounds.
To curb this problem, the fair board began locking up the fairgrounds at night to prevent people from entering and dumping trash.
For now, the city won't be able to expand the parking lot any farther until the garbage is cleaned up, but Rodgers wasn't sure how far the recreation commission and the fair board had decided to expand the parking lot.
"We are just filling up the hole that has been there for umpteen years. There was a great big hole that was a mosquito haven. They were concerned about kids getting in there," Rodgers said.
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