by Lisa Tome
If you haven't been to Rising Sun's Veterans Park in a while, it's not the same old muddy mess.
July was a record breaking month for rain in Maryland with 15 inches. The park, which formerly flooded, withstood the unnaturally wet month. The State of Maryland funded nearly $775,000 worth of improvements to ensure that.
That plan included the construction of three water quality treatment retrofits - a wetland treatment area, bioswale, and regeneration stormwater conveyance area. These are designed to reduce the sediment and nutrients entering the stream and subsequently, the bay.
"The stream work was done by September 30 (2017)," said Town of Rising Sun Parks Commissioner Dave Warnick. "The stream didn't leave the banks. It stayed in the channel and didn't flood the park."
The park also contains no mow areas now, which are crucial for filtering water. About 100 students volunteered in the park planting and doing clean up.
"It's reduced flooding in the park," said Warnick. The stream, which used to run elsewhere in the park, was relocated more than two decades ago. The grant funded work also made that stream more accessible for science projects. "I'm really happy with the way that came out. The stream has exceeded my expectations," said Warnick
Log veins now redirect the water to reduce flooding.
The biggest changes in the park have been in the woods. The ten acre park is at least half woods. Trail signage is coming which will make park users aware of the new amenities.
As part of the trail system, two bridges and boardwalks have been built in the woods behind the park. Another boardwalk will be built, one of several Eagle Scout projects in the park.
There are also 22 rock bordered step ponds in the park. Those begin at the town maintenance shop area. Those ponds fill up and water then goes into other ponds gradually to help contain run off water in the area. "It's (the ponds) to slow it down, spread it out, and soak it in," said Warnick.
Warnick said potentially a volunteer group will be enlisted to maintain the park project including the 200-300 trees that have been planted.
"Twenty years from now this park will look better than ever," said Warnick.
He said he realizes some think spending money on park projects is wasteful. "If they're going to spend money on environmental projects, we're glad it's spent here," he said.
The park work isn't finished. The pavilion will be upgraded with routine maintenance.