Big Spring Park on Veterans Drive in McDonough has long sat unused, and until recently was county owned property.
However, with an Environmental Protection Division funds and an intergovernmental agreement between the city and the county, McDonough officials are able to both beautify the area, while preserving a creek.
Big Spring Creek trickles through the area, and has faced years of erosion.
“It’s just a way too steep ditch,” Stormwater Engineer Emily Raby said. “It’s not healthy stream.”
Large volumes of water have eroded the surrounding stream bank, which not only has necessitated plans to restore the bank, but create a retention pond, as well.
With ownership of the park now transferred from the county to the city, officials are ready to begin the planning phases. But they want it done right.
“We don’t want it to look like a typical stormwater retention plan,” Raby said. “It can be an amenity.”
Community Development Director John Cheek said the hope is to turn the 3.5 acres of land into a passive park, with boardwalks, walking trails and seating.
A community meeting took place in late August, during which roughly 80 residents shared their thoughts, ideas and concerns. Raby said the biggest concern was the depth of the retention pond being a hazard, but the 6 to 8-foot-deep, two-acre pond is designed with graduated steps to prevent danger.
“It would be hard for someone to get into,” she said.
The project will use the $155,000 EPD funds, which requires a $103,333 minimum match from the city’s stormwater utility.
Planning has not yet begun, but the grant stipulates the funds must be used by 2014.