Sunday, October 09, 2005

Eureka's Balloon TracT

A couple of comments and/ or questions about the Balloon Tract in Eureka:

First, I made the second T in the title a capital letter on purpose. Why do all the news media insist on calling it the Balloon TraCK? It's not a track, although one local reporter insisted that it had a balloon shaped track on it, thus its name. Nope. It's a balloon shaped tract of land, thus is why it should be called the Balloon Tract.

A while back, after seeing it labeled a Track for the umpteenth time, I'd had enough. I e-mailed both the Eureka Reporter and Times- Standard and suggested the correction. Reporter Editor, Glenn Franco- Simmons, responded that Tract was the term used when he worked at the Times- Standard and they started using Track shortly after he left there. One of his reporters was the one who said it was because of the shape of the railroad track.

I forget who responded from the Standard or what his excuse was, but he said they were sticking with Track. Oh well. I may be mistaken but I think I saw it referred to as Tract in the North Coast Journal at least once, a little while ago. If so, good job, NCJ!
Second question: I don't get it. They say the Balloon Tract is polluted with lead and petrochemicals and needs to be cleaned up before any development can take place there. Why? "Cleaned up" just means they're going to dig up the contaminated soil and ship it somewhere else and then that place will be contaminated.

Seems to me putting buildings and pavement over the contaminated areas would serve the same purpose as hauling the stuff off. If the soil is covered, rain won't be helping the contaminants leach in the soil, as it has been for years. Why not just seal the contamination where it already is? I also can't help wonder just how contaminated it really is? The tract has been sitting there for decades. Most contaminants that were susceptible to leaching might have already leached out, I would think. Whatever remains could be sealed by having paving and buildings placed over them.

I could understand someone not wanting residential areas built on the tract, assuming they included yard or lawn areas. You wouldn't want kids playing in dirt contaminated with lead and the rest. But I can't help but wonder if that ground is any more contaminated than other lots in town with houses that had lead paint at one time and all the other contaminants private homeowners have polluted the ground with over the years. Maybe a foot of topsoil would cover the bad stuff keep it from getting spread around?

Am I being politically incorrect to question this, or what?


At 12:02 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Update: After doing a search of the North Coast Journal archives, it looks like NCJ uses both tract and track when they do stories on the balloon tract. Looks like track is used most, though. Oh well. At least they got it right some of the time.

At 9:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, Fred. The track is balloon-shaped, the tract is not.

You can see the outlines of it here at the URL below. That would be a strange balloon!

--Hank Sims

At 12:52 PM, Blogger Fred said...

I stand corrected on the shape of the tract. I saw the same photo as the one as you scroll down in the article quite some time ago. I thought it showed the outline of the tract overlayed on the photo. I guess it was the track itself I was looking at.

NONETHELESS(!!!) I still maintain it should be called Balloon Tract. Their talking about a piece of property, not railroad tracks.

At 5:03 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

That's the way Fred, never let the facts get in the way of your opinion :-)


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