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Miami workers scramble to test toxic soil in 112 parks

(MIAMI HERALD)   A day after Miami announced it would begin testing soil at all its parks, workers scrambled to install a fence around the latest park to be tagged for contaminated soil.

Wednesday morning, nannies who say they gather daily at Merrie Christmas Park in Coconut Grove arrived with toddlers and infants in strollers. But by late afternoon, a line of metal fence posts blocked their entrance.

The discovery of elevated levels of heavy metal at the sloping 5.38 acre park, shaded by towering banyans, is the second in recent weeks. Like Blanche Park, just two miles away, officials believe evidence of melted glass indicates toxic ash may have been dumped at the site the city purchased from the county for $1 in 1954. Following the discovery, county environmental chief Wilbur Mayorga recommended Miami test all 112 of its parks Tuesday.

The response is distinctly faster than the two years it took the city to address contamination found at an old incinerator site in the West Grove, which prompted bitter complaints from residents and set in motion the far reaching tests now being conducted.

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