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Park reopens nearly two years after oil spill

Life is slowly returning to normal along the Kalamazoo River nearly two years after a broken pipeline dumped more than 800 thousand gallons of crude oil into the river.

Today,  a Calhoun County park that has been closed since the oil spill officially reopened to the public.

People have been visiting Historic Bridges park, just south of Battle Creek, since the late 1800’s. But the park has been closed for nearly two years, after it became one of five staging areas for cleanup workers after the 2010 Enbridge oil spill.

Cleanup work along more than 30 miles of the river is now focusing elsewhere so the park is reopening to the public.

“It is a gathering place for many residents of Calhoun County,” says Christopher Vreeland, with the Calhoun County Parks Commission, “It is one of the few free opportunities to get into the out of doors in Calhoun County.”

Enbridge may several improvements to the park, including installing rest rooms.   The company also created an endowment to help maintain the park.

Park visitors still can’t use the river. Only about a tenth of the Kalamazoo River affected by the oil spill has been reopened to the public.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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