Freeport Begins Environmental Cleanup on City's East Side

By: Brad Broders
By: Brad Broders

Lifelong Freeport resident Merry Liburd says this land is an embarrassment for her neighborhood.

"Nothing you could do, but ride by and look at it. No use, just buildings and trees, and empty," Liburd said.

This crew will spend the week cleaning up, and tearing out petroleum-related contamination. The mess has lingered after decades of careless management from a former railroad company.

"The see all the vacant trees, hundreds of bushes, and the buildings and a lot of people get scared to come over here," Liburd said.

But thanks to more than a million bucks from the state's environmental watchdogs, the work - and the neighborhood's healing - is underway. The eyesore will be transformed into a bike path.

"It was the way business was done back then. Tanks leaked, things were spilled, no one thought of the environment then. It's come to the forefront in the last 20 years, and we're trying to maintain beauty in Freeport," Freeport Mayor George Gaulrapp said.
When you look at this environmental site, the problems are all around you. You've got broken pipelines, petroleum tanks, etc. But the good news, one this site is cleaned up, it will be a big part of rehabbing Freeport's east side.

"This part of our city has been neglected for so long, we want to take pride in it again, and we want to show Freeport that we care about all parts of the city, not one or two sections," Gaulrapp said.

And while Liburd's proud of her neighborhood, soon, all of Pretzel City can join in on the pride.

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