The talks about the construction of a park at the site of the former battery plant are over, at least for now.
On Tuesday night the board voted unanimously to table further discussion regarding the proposals to construct a park at the site where manganese was manufactured for disposable batteries from 1947 to 1991.
The property is located between Douglas and South Main streets, bordered by the railroad tracks, and is currently enclosed by a chain link fence.
The site was entered into the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation environmental cleanup program in 1998 and was remediated in 2011, which means there was demolition, consolidation and capping of basins drainage improvements were made; and a tree buffer was planted.
There are land use restrictions on the property which prohibit the use of groundwater from the property and excavation activity has to be coordinated with TDEC.
That was a big deterrent to several aldermen who expressed concerns during the Nov. 16 Finance and Administration Committee meeting.
Spectrum, the company which owns the property, has been in talks with different city leaders over the last four years and more discussion place at two city meetings last month.
The aldermen told Spectrum they didn’t believe most of the community would buy into the idea that a park would be a good plan for the property, especially those who’ve lived in Covington for a long time and remember the battery plant’s history.
Constructing a park falls in line with the end use plans of TDEC when remediation began a decade ago.
Spectrum’s plan involved donating the property, maintaining environmental liability and continuing to work with TDEC to achieve environmental closure.
After the hour-long presentation last month the aldermen held a frank discussion addressing their reservations. Alderman Chris Richardson asked the group if they’d take their children to the park.
C.H. Sullivan said he absolutely would not.
Others said they were concerned there was a chance someone could get sick due to exposure to materials which may be at the site.
“I don’t want to take that chance,” said alderman Danny Wallace.
Alderman John Edwards made the motion to table the discussion during the November Finance & Administration Committee meeting and there was no second. He made the motion again at Tuesday’s meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen and the board, with the exception of Wallace who was absent, voted unanimously to table the discussion.
Edwards and Alderman Jeff Morris said they’d had more extensive conversations with voters and had not had any positive comments about the park.