SALEM — This is the month neighbors were supposed to be celebrating the reopening of Furlong Park following a $700,000 renovation.
That celebration is on hold, however, and the park's completion is months away or longer.
"Obviously, our goal is to try to get it open at some point this year," said Kathy Winn, the deputy director of planning.
But first, the coal ash and other contaminants found during construction have to be cleaned up or capped.
A consultant working with the city is expected to submit a plan to the state this week for taking more soil samples from the 3-acre site, which will determine locations with the highest levels of lead and other potentially hazardous chemicals. Once those levels are determined, the consultant and state will come up with a cleanup or containment plan.
The city expects to hold a neighborhood meeting in mid-to-late August, when officials have a plan and timeline for completion of the work, Winn said.
Meanwhile, the city is investigating funding sources to pay for the environmental cleanup.
Furlong Park is on Franklin Street on a former factory site along the banks of the North River. The new park will have a walkway, renovated basketball and tennis courts, granite benches, a new ball field, and a small boat dock.