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Proposed Sports Complex for Old Mining Site

The City of Hot Springs is in discussion with UMETCO Minerals Corporation about exploring the opportunity of developing a multi-sports complex on 500 acres of an old vanadium mining site.
HOT SPRINGS- The City of Hot Springs is in discussion with UMETCO Minerals Corporation about exploring the opportunity of developing a multi-sports complex on 500 acres of an old vanadium mining site.

Dennis Woodward lives right next to the site and says the land is hazardous, and is cancer among his family and neighbors. Woodward is concerned about the kids who would be playing on the fields of that proposed sports complex, but the City of Hot Springs says the site is clean and a perfect location.

Woodward and his wife have lived next to the site for 40 years. Now, he says he won't let his great grandchildren play on the same property because he says the same land made his wife sick. She died of cancer last year, and so have several of the neighbors. "The next door neighbor, his daughter: cancer, the lady across the street: cancer, and another lady across the block: cancer."

Woodward says all of them had the same type of cancer, and he doesn't believe that's a coincidence. He thinks the UMETCO Minerals Corporation old vanadium mining site in his backyard is the blame.
The company has been working to restore the land for the last 27 years. The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality says more research is needed before the land can be repurposed.
Woodward can't imagine why the City of Hot Springs would want to build a sports complex there when he won't even let his great grandchildren play nearby.

According to a press release from the City of Hot Springs, "UMETCO and the ADEQ have done an amazing job of reclaiming the site, but reclamation is not yet complete."

The press release goes on to describe the site as "beautiful, and a hidden gem." Woodward says he won't even use dirt from his property to plant a garden. He says it's too late for him, his wife, and his neighbors, but he's worried about the future. "I'd hate to see somebody else move in."

The proposed sports complex is still in the early stages of discussion.

UMETCO mined vanadium at the site from the 1960's to the mid 80's and has been cleaning it up ever since. Vanadium is a chemical element used to strengthen and harden steel. It can be considered toxic at high levels of exposure, but there is a lot of dispute about that.

The City of Hot Springs is proposing a complex of softball, baseball and soccer fields, as well as other facilities for the sports complex.
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