VALLEJO (KCBS) – The cost of environmental cleanup at the former Navy shipyard at Mare Island is too high for it to become a national park, according to federal officials.

The U.S. National Park Service rejected the Mare Island application on financial grounds even though much of the roughly 5,000-acre site has already been cleaned up already.

Ken Zadwick, president of the Mare Island Historic Park Foundation, was taken aback by the rejection letter.

“We’ve done the dirty work of repairing things, getting the museum established, taking care of the major repairs in our buildings,” he said.

“Any cleanup that had to be done was completed.”

KCBS’ Anna Duckworth Reports:

Zadwick believes the isolated area where the Navy is doing environmental remediation should get in the way of adding to the national park system five historic buildings already visited daily by site seers.

Zadwick said St. Peter’s Chapel, for example, has the most Tiffany stained glass west of the Mississippi. The letter acknowledged the shipyard’s historic significance.

Designating Mare Island a national park would give Zadwick additional personnel and save his non-profit $6,000 a month in taxes to the City of Vallejo.

Plus the 79-year-old is looking at who will take over property he has personally overseen since 1996.

“Somewhere along the line, I’ll have to retire,” he said.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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