Monday, March 9, 2009

Back to Detention

Kayaker Martha Kelly often paddles in the river and the harbor downtown.

"The storm drains downtown empty straight into the harbor," she says. "Trash, oil slicks, and lawn chemicals get picked up and it ends up being a foamy, oily, nasty smelling mess down in the harbor every time there's a hard rain."

So when she considers the possibility of a storm-water detention basin in the middle of Overton Park, she thinks it will be a health hazard for a number of reasons.

"I can only imagine that Midtown storm water will have the same mess," the Park Friends board member says. "It will be a big mud pit with trash and mosquitoes."

The city has a proposal to construct a large retention basin in the greensward area of Overton Park to help relieve flooding in Midtown. Park Friends, an advocacy group for Overton Park, was never consulted on the plan but is fiercely opposed to the idea.

"We think it's terrible," Kelly says. "[The greensward] is already very squishy for several days after a hard rain the elevation it is. If they drop it down the height of a two-story building, what do you think it will do?"

Park Friends is encouraging people to contact the City Council and the administration and tell them there shouldn't be a detention basin in Overton Park.

"Overton Park is Midtown's front yard," Kelly says. "It's next to one of our top tourist attractions. People from out of town will go to the zoo and get their first whiff of Memphis and it won't be pretty."

To read a previous post about the proposed detention basin, click here.

VECA will host a meeting Wednesday night that will address the proposal and flooding in the neighborhood.


Queen of Light said...

why did they pave over the creek to begin with?

marycash said...

I believe it was an "improvement."

Unfortunately, I don't know what they were trying to improve by doing it. Anybody know?

sbanbury said...

All I know is that the original channel through Overton Park was permeable as was evident by the number of healthy Sycamore trees along it (now dying).

About 15 years ago the city redid it and made it impervious. I talked to the site supervisor when they were doing it and asked him why they weren't intalling any weep holes along the bottom of the channel and he told me that that would defeat the purpose.

I told him he was an idiot and that the walls would collapse due to hydraulic pressure from the surrounding water table. Guess what? The walls have collapsed in several places.

But, hey, what does a stupid hippy know?

marycash said...

Not how to spell hippie. ;)

What was you take on the thing last night?

sbanbury said...

I imagine that VECA residents probably would have gotten more out of it if it had stayed focused on their immediate concerns instead of becoming a public hearing about the park. The vibe really put the engineers on the defensive and we got more of a presentation than a discussion.

sbanbury said...

Me and my Cub Scouts are doing a hike down the creek in VECA on Sunday with an intro by Mary Wilder. You're welcome to join us.