$120K grant to help study air quality in Orlando’s Parramore community

ORLANDO, Fla. — A new grant designed to reduce the impact of air pollution on the people who live in the Parramore community is off to a good start.

The $120,000 grant will provide resources to study the prevalence of asthma and other respiratory diseases on Parramore residents, a community that now backs into the I-4 Ultimate project.

>>> STREAM CHANNEL 9 EYEWITNESS NEWS LIVE <<<

The Coalition of One Hundred Black Women Central Florida received the grant from the EPA to study pollution problems in Parramore.

Lawanna Gelzer, a longtime Parramore resident and business owner, said following a survey and a series of meetings with experts 20 residents will be trained to use sensor-based air quality monitors for four to six months.

READ: Orlando mayor, city commissioner break ground on affordable housing project in Parramore

Problems with pollutants have plagued Parramore for decades, starting in the 1800s with the Orlando Gasification Plant site along Robinson Street.

The site was shut down in 1960 and is now used as office space and parking lots, but poor waste handling practices led to lingering contamination of the site’s soil and groundwater.

READ: City of Orlando to buy Parramore land for $9.5M

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection investigated and has taken steps to clean up the site.

“Remnants of the plant are still around and that’s what we’re dealing with today, the air quality and soil contamination,” Gelzer said.

And a more recent concern is the I-4 Ultimate project.

READ: “Everything’s out of whack”: Parramore Oaks residents raise concerns about community safety

The project started in 2015 with flying dust and other unknown pollutants in the air.

Gezer said once residents are trained to do the air quality devices, the quality will be tracked for six months before the data is set to the EPA to study.

Click here to download the free WFTV news and weather apps, click here to download the WFTV Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Channel 9 Eyewitness News live.

Karen Parks

Karen Parks, WFTV.com

Karen Parks is a reporter at WFTV.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.