Proposal to locate sports complex near power plant, landfill concerns parents

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Parents and environmental groups say they are concerned about a huge children's sports complex and playground being planned near an Orange County power plant. The park is set to be built at Young Pine and Curry Ford roads.

Orange County Commissioner Jennifer Thompson held a planning meeting about the park Wednesday afternoon.

"It's being proposed quite close to this trifecta of point-source pollution. That's my main concern," said Amy Stiling, who opposed the proposed park location.

Stiling, a former research assistant for U.S. Fish and Wildlife, said the site is no place for a playground and sports complex.

"It's irresponsible and it's hazardous to our children's health," said Stiling.

The park would sit not far from two landfills and the Stanton Energy Center, a gas and coal-fired power plant.

"Would you want your child running around on a sports field getting dust on their shoes, on their clothes and then wiping sweat off their brows, with God knows what on their hands?" asked Stiling.

The land where the park would sit is about one mile from the two landfills and about three miles from power plant.

"Air pollution doesn't know the boundaries of woods," said Stiling.

Parents said they are also concerned about large garbage trucks along Young Pine Road. Channel 9 observed 15 of the large trucks pass by in just five minutes.  

Thompson has led the effort to get a park built on the property.

She declined an on-camera interview opportunity with Channel 9, but said that her home is closer to the power plant than the park would be.

Orlando Utilities Commission representatives also declined an interview, but released a statement saying, "OUC's Stanton Energy Center meets or exceeds all state and federal environmental requirements, including air quality standards."

The county's phase-one environmental site assessment did not find the presence of any hazardous substances that would warrant further study.