By Lyn Jensen, Carson Reporter
Take the Avalon Boulevard exit south from the 405 Freeway and see a street sign that boasts “Stadium Way.” It’s not a reference to Dignity Health Sports Park several miles north. The sign’s left over from an unsuccessful effort to coax the National Football League to Carson three years ago. It ended up in Inglewood.
Stadium Way only turns left onto Avalon, because the right leads nowhere but a vacant 157-acre hazardous waste site known as a “brownfield.” It once housed the Cal Compact Landfill that closed more than 50 years ago. Carson’s been attempting to clean up and develop the land for much of this century.
The Carson Reclamation Authority took title to the site in 2015 when hopes were high of attracting professional football. Although no stadium was built there, Carson still controls the land, and remains hopeful that this vacant real estate—prime vacant real estate, except for its toxic soil—will be developed.
Before and after the stadium plan failed, there was a push for an outlet mall on a parcel that fronts the 405 Freeway. The mall was proposed to be built and open by now, but construction never started.
Now that former Mayor Jim Dear’s back on the council, he says the city is going forward with the plan for an outlet mall. He says Tetra Tech did some site clean-up, but a different company is handling what work remains.
This past month the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, the lead regulatory agency for the project, sent out a work notice that announced upcoming “remediation field work activities,” which will include driving about 2,300 piles, adding a landfill cap, and other work that indicates the final stages of development may be happening.
The department’s work notice also says this work will begin in mid-April and take about a year. The notice directs persons who wish to view site documents to the website www.EnviroStar.dtsc.ca.gov but that site leads only to technical long-term monitoring data.
In 2015, John Raymond, Carson’s community development director, said that after eight years of site remediation — begun in 2007 —the clean-up that remained would have to wait until something is actually being built upon the site.
Raymond explained there were three things that needed to happen for the remediation to be complete. The first, a groundwater collection system was finished. The second, gas recovery equipment was also installed. “But we cannot do too much ahead of time,” Raymond added. “We may need to relocate the gas wells according to the timetable when we know the final footprint of the construction.”
The third step, driving piles, is still to come. “The landfill goes 65-feet deep in some places, so piles may have to be driven 90-feet down,” Raymond explained. “The outlet mall alone will probably need about 3,000 piles driven in.”
If an outlet mall were to open in Carson, its closest competitor — both in location and business type — would be the Citadel on the former Uniroyal property in Commerce. Carson has predicted such a mall could initially generate over $4 million in sales tax revenue, along with 1,700 construction jobs and 1,800 permanent jobs.
Developing the property has long been a controversial issue. Carson residents’ concerns may be traced back at least to 2006, when former Mayor Vera Robles DeWitt led a drive to stop a residential development.
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