west creek metropark to receive $12M green makeover

West Creek Reservation, a 278-acre Metropark in Parma that originally opened in 2006, will undergo a $12 million makeover to be complete by fall 2012, including sustainable landscaping designed to reduce pollution and test a new national rating system.

Cleveland Metroparks held a groundbreaking March 7th for park improvements, including a new visitor center, picnic shelter and all-purpose trails. The visitor center landscaping will feature a natural storm water treatment system that will help keep rainwater in West Creek, preventing flooding downstream.

The Sustainable Sites Initiative, a new national organization that is creating voluntary design standards for sustainable landscaping, will monitor and test the project. West Creek was selected to participate in the program among 175 sites nationwide.

As part of this effort, the Cleveland Metroparks will measure how much storm water is captured by the visitor center and report that information to the public. The visitor center will feature hands-on educational exhibits about water conservation.

West Creek's new sustainable landscaping system will control how much water enters the stream by acting as a filter. As storm water reaches the center, it will descend into wetlands and enter bio-swales, or plants, landscaping and rocks that function as detention basins. As storm water is gradually released, it will run through stepped pools and wetlands before flowing into the creek.

The new visitor center will be built with environmentally friendly materials, including sustainably harvested lumber and carpeting made from recycled materials. The parking lot will also feature porous pavement, allowing rainwater to flow into the landscaping instead of the sewer.

The landscape improvements at West Creek were designed by Floyd Brown Group and Domokur Architects in Akron and Doty & Miller Architects in Bedford.

The Sustainable Sites Initiative will incorporate feedback from its 175 test projects into a final rating system that it hopes to have in place by 2013. The purpose of the rating system is to develop universal criteria for sustainable landscaping in the U.S.

Source: Cleveland Metroparks
Writer: Lee Chilcote
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