MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The drill machine probes deep, way down for groundwater samples. It's all an effort to see if any of the city-owned 14 acres at 'Three Points' is contaminated.
After all there was a gas station here once which means there are old gas tanks underground.
"This has to happen before anything else can happen," said Alabama Department of Environmental Management Director Lance LeFleur.
By that EPA officials mean no retail development can take place until groundwater samples show everything's fine. The site is only one of 41 sites along the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail to be tested, a critical step before the trail as a whole can resemble anything what city leaders and private investors envision for 'Three Points.' $200,000 will pay for the groundwater tests for the entire trail.
'Three points' by the way is referred to as the fact the three streets come together at Mildred and Mobile.
"It's due, long overdue," said Milton Shirdan.
Shirdan is 85-years old and remembers a time when this part of Montgomery thrived with energy.
"I remember when there were shops all through the area and a theatre," said Shirdan.
If you're wondering how Three Points fit into the trail, history tells us Mobile Street was very much an avenue of the original civil rights march.
"They marched right along Mobile Street to the capital steps," said Montgomery Deputy Mayor Jeff Downes.
And they marched right into the history books.
With the grand plan to re-do Mobile and Mildred Streets, city leaders, the state EPA and the federal government are looking at bringing history a little closer to home, a little closer to what Mr. Shirdan remembers as the good ole days.
EPA officials say it will take about 7 months to sample and test the groundwater and assuming everything comes back okay, developers can then begin trying to turn-a-round 'Three Points.'
The city purchased the 14 acres for a little more than $1 million by using federal grants.