Riverfront Park Will Remove Rubber Pathway; Was it a Waste of State Funds?

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By Jessica Gertler

From Montgomery -- Changes are coming to Riverfront Park in downtown. The rubber tile pathway that lines the ground will soon be replaced. This after the city used a $240,000 grant to have it installed two years ago.

 

"[The tiles] are starting to come up," says Ebony Ware. "It's almost like a tripping hazard."

"It really needs some rejuvenation if you ask me," says Bob Mengel. 

Both are Riverfront Park visitors who have pointed out issues with the pathway complied of 32,000 tiles made from recycled tires.

The city has noticed the same issues.

"A little bit of problems. Water getting under the tiles. There's places where the asphalt didn't cure which is causing the tiles to come loose and buckle up," says Tom Pierce, Special Events Dept. Superintendent. 

Pierce says the tiles have required much maintenance. He says the city will have to find money to tear up the tile, and repave it with a different material.

"They have been talking to the company that the tiles came from when we started having these issues. We have been working with them to resolve those issues, but I haven't been a part of the converstations. " he says.

The money for the rubber tiles came from Alabama Department of Environmental Management's "Scrap Tire Fund." The fund totals $4 million. It's made up of the $1 fee collected when a person disposes of their tires. 

Park visitors demand answers.

"I'd say if it was coming out of my pocket, there would be someone to answer for it," says Mengel.

"$240,000? Yes. That's a waste of money!" says Ware.

And when we asked Pierce if he thought it was a waste of money: "I'm not going to say a waste. Like I said, it was an improvement from what we had. We've received good use from it."

Alabama News Network talked to a spokesperson with ADEM. They say around 20 percent of the "Scrap Tire Fund" goes towards projects like here at Riverfront Park. A majority goes towards cleaning up illegal tire dumping sites. 

 

The city says it will begin replacing the tile after the River Walk Wine Festival. City leaders don't know what kind of material they will use. 

If you're a parent taking your children to the splash pad, city officials say they've added a new rubber surface and rewired the motion sensors that control the water. 

 

 

 

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