News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

August 2, 2013

Settlement nets Terre Haute Parks and Recreation $1 million

DuPont writes check for damage done to trees

TERRE HAUTE — The Terre Haute Parks and Recreation Department has received more than $1 million this year in a settlement with DuPont, a multi-national corporation.

DuPont wrote a check to the City of Terre Haute for more than $1 million early this year as compensation for damage caused to Rea Park golf course linked to a DuPont herbicide known as Imprelis.

Imprelis is believed to damage pine, spruce and other evergreen trees, according to media reports.

The Parks Department was prepared to join a class-action lawsuit against DuPont for damage to dozens of evergreens at Rea Park, City Attorney Chou-il Lee told the City Council at Thursday night’s council “sunshine” meeting. However, DuPont reached out to the city and offered a settlement independent of the class-action suit, he said.

At first, DuPont offered a settlement of about $800,000, Lee told the council. “We were able to negotiate it up to the figure that’s in front of you,” he told the council.

That figure was $1,002,486.05.

The City of Terre Haute has been dealing with the Imprelis claim for about two years, Lee said. The company issued its check to the city in late January. Approximately 87 trees at the southside golf course were damaged by the product, Lee said.

The DuPont money will be used to remove the dead and damaged trees, Lee said; however, there should be additional funds available for the parks department.

“It’s going to help the parks department tremendously for their capital projects,” Lee said after the meeting.

At first, DuPont was offering to remove and replace the trees, but the city objected to those plans because they did not take golf course usage schedules into account, Lee told the council. The city will be handling the tree removal and replacement itself, he said.

DuPont issued a warning to landscapers in 2011 stating that Imprelis could damage evergreens. That warning came too late for thousands of golf courses using the herbicide, according to the federal class action suit, as reported by ConsumerAffairs.com.

The herbicide causes yellowing and curling of evergreen needles, according to the online publication.

DuPont advertises Imprelis, which it released in 2011, as a broadleaf herbicide.

The Parks Department has asked the council to establish a special “non-reverting” fund to hold the DuPont money. The new fund, which could be established at next Thursday evening’s regular council meeting, would also be used to hold donations to the parks department, according to an ordinance to establish the new fund.

“We receive several donations a year, anywhere from $2 to $32,000,” said Eddie Bird, superintendent of the parks department. All of the money placed in the new non-reverting fund wouldbe limited to capital projects and equipment purchases, according to the ordinance.

Non-reverting funds are established for specific purposes, such as ambulance services.

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@tribstar.com.

 

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