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U of M studying Cascades Park in Jackson

Posted at 4:14 PM, Sep 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-13 20:26:12-04

LANSING, Mich. — People in one Jackson neighborhood are getting sick and they're wondering if maybe the blocked up lagoons nearby are to blame--the University of Michigan is looking into whether Cascades Park in Jackson is creating a public health concern.

The university will be doing a study to see if mosquitoes and mold are affecting the residents' health and livelihood.

Residents say the county-owned lagoons at Cascade park used to run clear, but now they're filled with green sludge. The lagoons are also flooding into nearby homes, damaging basements.

"We know because of that, we're guessing that we have more mold and some of us have mold allergies, some of us don't," Elaine Wolf-Baker, a concern resident said.

The stagnant water is also a concern.

"We used to have parties and barbecues and we'd all get together to watch the fireworks and we can't do that anymore because the mosquitoes are so bad," Wolf-Baker said.

A public health team made up of U of M epidemiology graduate students will be taking up their concerns. The team will be doing a study to see how the lagoons are impacting people emotionally and physically.

"Another woman has COPD. I have asthma now," Wolf-Baker said.

The team will talk with residents, gather data and then will make recommendations.

"If it's something that the city can address, then absolutely, then I'll be advocating for whatever changes possible. If it's something that needs to go another entity like the county then I'll certainly be a strong advocate for that as well," Colleen Sullivan, councilwoman ward 6 said.

Wolf-Baker said she's glad the team will be coming.

"It may trigger they powers that be to know that it not only affects people visually, but it also affects peoples' health," Sullivan said.

Homeowners in the area have been petitioning for the county to dredge the lagoons. They're waiting for an engineering firm to figure out the best way to do the drainage work and then they'll sign the petition after they get cost-estimates.

Work could take on to two years.

There will be a public meeting held on Sept. 30.

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