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New Lake Michigan Park Makes Use Of State Liability Exemption Program

Lake Vista Park Covers 50 Acres Of Nearly 300-Acre Lakefront Redevelopment In Oak Creek

Chuck Quirmbach/WPR

A scenic park along Lake Michigan in Milwaukee County is opening this year, partly due to an agreement with the state of Wisconsin over clean-up of contaminated soil.

Lake Vista Park covers 50 acres of a nearly 300-acre lakefront redevelopment project in the city of Oak Creek. It has a bluff-top view of Lake Michigan, allowing visitors to see for miles.

Arsenic and other chemicals left in the soil by a former DuPont Corp. factory delayed clean-up for many years. But Pam Mylotta, of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, says using a state program that limits future financial liability, DuPont has had the pollutants removed, stabilized or covered with 2 feet of clay soil.

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“Once they realized they could do this Voluntary Party Liability Exemption program, they were really interested in seeing this through because this allowed them to not just walk away and mothball this property, but walk away with a project that’s done right, that someone else can use,” Mylotta said Tuesday following a Natural Resources Board tour of the Oak Creek property.

Mylotta said DuPont just insisted the clay cap never be penetrated.

Oak Creek officials also told the DNR Board they hope to have residences and new businesses on other parts of the 300 acres that are away from the former factories. City leaders say one of their biggest challenges is the site is miles away from Interstate-94 and a faster-growing part of Oak Creek.

The lakefront property is just north of Milwaukee County’s Bender Park, and not far from a large WE Energies coal-fired power plant.

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