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Old STD Meds And Weird 1800s Trash Is Holding Up The Arts District Park

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If you were excited about checking out the new Arts District park, you're going to have to wait. The ground is tainted with really old STD medicine, among other hazardous materials. The new park at 5th and Hewitt in the Arts District was supposed to open up this fall, but it'll now be delayed by six months at least, Downtown News reports.

The half-acre space is apparently a treasure trove of weird, centuries-old debris and hazardous waste, according to the work crews and archeologists who've been working on the site. They've found metals like lead and copper in the soil, and objects like roller skates, ladies' stockings, marbles and gonorrhea medicine in glass bottles dating back to the 1800s.

LADWP, which is in charge of remediation, found the hazardous metals during a routine soil inspection in July. They'll have to take off the first three feet of soil before construction will continue. Archaeologists with Environmental Science Associates are working on removing and preserving the artifacts.

Josephine Gonzalez, DWP's environmental affairs officer, said in August that these findings could indicate that the park was once home to a brothel, but later said it was only speculation. Madeleine Bray, an archaeologist with Environmental Science Associates, said a brothel wasn't particularly likely because the area was developed with single family homes in the 1880s. It's more likely, she said, that it's a number of former trash pits, as it was common for people to bury their trash in their yards then. She believes the layers will reveal the age of the objects, with the oldest at the bottom.

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Gonzalez also said that a lot of the medicine was cod liver oil, which was pretty common back then for a variety of ailments.

The new projected opening date is Spring of 2016, and the park will contain murals, picnicking areas, a playground, lighting and seating areas.