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Casey urges quick cleanup at Frankford Arsenal

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey on Monday urged the Army Corps of Engineers to expedite pollution cleanup at the former Frankford Arsenal, warning that further delays could threaten a planned multimillion-dollar shopping center.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey on Monday urged the Army Corps of Engineers to expedite pollution cleanup at the former Frankford Arsenal, warning that further delays could threaten a planned multimillion-dollar shopping center.

The Pennsylvania Democrat said that speeding up the process even "by a few months" could help the project, which has potential tenants lined up.

In an interview, Casey said it was important to keep "some of these stores interested in making the investment in a big shopping plaza."

He added, "You can't extend it indefinitely."

The project is expected to create 900 permanent jobs and up to 450 construction jobs if work begins next year.

In July 2010, developer Mark Hankin began demolishing buildings at the Bridesburg site to make way for the shopping center.

But before construction can start, the corps needs to test the soil and complete any needed remediation.

The arsenal, founded in 1816 and closed in 1977, was used to test, manufacture, and store ordnance.

Hankin bought the site in 1983 for development but has been stymied by pollution issues.

Most recently, the corps discovered oil pockets that tested positive for PCB, a suspected carcinogen.

"We are aware that the corps now plans to fully characterize and delineate the sources of contamination in order to evaluate the liability of the costs associated with remediation," Casey and U.S. Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz (D., Pa.) wrote in a letter to the corps.

"This further delays the efforts to redevelop this land. We urge you to expedite this process as quickly as possible so that cleanup can continue," they wrote.

In the interview, Casey stressed that he wanted the cleanup done "by the book" but as quickly as possible.

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