BRADENTON, Fla. (WWSB) - More affordable housing is expected to be built in Manatee County on 35th Street and State Road 70, west of the John H. Marble Park in Bradenton. There’s a catch though: The land has been considered an environmental hazard for more than three decades.
Harmful chemicals from a dry cleaner that used to sit next to the land contaminated the groundwater for more than 16 acres.
Experts with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection say the land is now safe to develop, as long as no groundwater makes it up to the surface during building and even after tenants move in. County employees say a 96-unit affordable housing apartment will sit on the land.
Neighbors say they remember the nearby dry cleaners but had no idea it left behind so much contamination. They say homeless people have called this vacant lot home for decades, and now they’re just happy something new will be built on it.
“I think it will bring a lot of people in and more business for local business owners”says Kevin Nguyen, a nearby business owner.
Since the land is not completely free of contamination FDEP says the developer, HTG Group, can not use any of the groundwater underneath. The developer is also restricted from drilling or digging any storm water ditches on the property.
Manatee County will have to supply all the water for this project and even after the complex is built.
County officials say the developer is looking to start construction in October on the apartments, which will be called “Oaks at Lakeside.”