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Sanford to spend thousands to clean land

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SANFORD, Fla. - Sanford city officials plan to shell out big bucks to help keep a senior housing project away from the city’s historic downtown.

The city swapped its old police station along U.S. Highway 17-92 for a building downtown where a developer wanted to build apartments called Sanford Lofts.

Channel 9's Karla Ray uncovered the fact that it could cost more than $80,000 to remove contaminants from the police station's land first.

It all has to do with a fueling station that used to sit at the site, and even though the city's getting rid of the land, it's still their responsibility.

“I think it was important for us to control the area at Palmetto and 1st Street. We went ahead and bought the other side of it; that gives us the whole block,” said Sanford’s mayor, Jeff Triplett.

But before the city can do anything about the new site,  it will be required to clean up contamination at the old one.

The problem dates back decades to when city vehicles would fuel up at the site, and officials say there’s contamination where the fuel tanks used to sit.

“It is a significant amount of money, just under $100,000, to make sure it gets done properly,” Triplett said.

Ray dug through city records and found the money will likely come from reserves.

“How can the city afford to take money out of reserves?” Ray asked Triplett.

“You never want to take money out for anything. It's set aside, but it's set aside for special instances and this is one of those,” he said.

WFTV learned that there are about 60 contaminated sites throughout Sanford.