XENIA — Protecting the State and National Scenic Little Miami River, the Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Park District recently received the Governor’s Award from the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association (OPRA) for its environmental approach to replacing its agency headquarters parking lot.
The Board of Greene County Commissioners recently honored the park district for its award that was presented as part of the OPRA State Conference in Sandusky.
“The replacement of our parking lot is more than new asphalt; it is an overall improvement of our environmental impact on one of our community’s most vital assets — the State and National Scenic Little Miami River,” said Jeff Stewart, Director of Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Park District. “All of the components are designed to work together to filter rain water that flows off the parking lot at our park headquarters.”
The OPRA Governor’s Award was established in 2010 to recognize one park or recreation program in Ohio that had the most significant impact of the quality of life in the preceding year, demonstrates innovation, and addresses a need with clear goals and demonstrated outcomes.
The project was financed in part through a grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, under the provisions of the Surface Water Improvement Fund and Greene County’s dedication of dollars from the parks and open space fund.
“As commissioners, we applaud all efforts to protect the vital natural resources of Greene County,” said Board President Bob Glaser. “The State and National Scenic Little Miami River is a jewel in our natural landscape.”
Environmental elements incorporated into the new river-friendly parking lot by the Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Park District include:
-Rain garden: A shallow depression that has deep-rooted native plants or grasses used to absorb rain water during large rainfall events. These gardens are installed near run-off sources, such as a large parking lot to capture the water with its nutrients. Storm water run-off increases flooding and carries pollutants into local water sources — such as the Little Miami River.
-Bio-swale: A bio-swale has gently sloped sides designed to remove silt and pollution from surface run-off water.
-Permeable pavers: Permeable pavers are made with a base and sub-base allowing the movement of storm water through the surface. The pavers reduce run-off as well as trap suspended solids and filter pollutants.
-Oil interceptor and trench drain
-More than 1,000 native perennial plants from 12 species
“The scope of the project is impressive,” said Vice President Tom Koogler, “and speaks to what can be accomplished when we all work together.”
In addition to the Governor’s Award trophy, the Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Park District received a plaque from Ohio Governor John Kasich and $500 from OPRA to their parks and recreation foundation.
“Greene County has long been recognized as a leader in conserving our natural resources,” said Commissioner Alan Anderson, “and this state award certainly confirms our status in Ohio.”
For more information about the Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Park District or its river-friendly parking lot, call 937-848-5353, visit www.bellbrooksugarcreekparks.org or email [email protected]
Story courtesy of Greene County Parks & Trails.