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EPA grant will fund work at J.E. Broyhill Park

LENOIR, NC (July 26, 2018) — Thanks to a $240,000 United States Environmental Protection Agency grant and a partnership with North Carolina State University (NCSU), the City of Lenoir will be able to make much needed stormwater improvements at J.E. Broyhill Park.

Stormwater runoff has been an issue in J.E. Broyhill Park for many years. Parts of the park stay wet due to poor drainage, and the stream bank at the southern end of the park is eroding.

After reviewing the park as part of the City’s North Main Small Area Plan, staff partnered with NCSU and the NC Cooperative Extension Caldwell County Office to apply for an EPA 319 Grant to address the stormwater issues. Part of the grant application included a commitment from NCSU to design a “Regenerative Stormwater Conveyance System” for the park.

The system includes a series of ponds that descend through the park like a staircase. The ponds will capture and slow stormwater as it flows through the park. The ponds also will help filter the water before it flows into Lower Creek.

During heavy rains, stormwater flows from the northern end of the park to the southern end where buried stream opens up.
The staircase series of stormwater ponds will catch, slow, and filter stormwater runoff as it makes its way through the park.

Seth Nagy, County Extension Director, said this is the third Regenerative Stormwater Conveyance System designed by staff at NCSU.

“This design will be used to help North Carolina develop guidelines on how these systems can be designed and used across the state,” Nagy said.

City Planning Director Jenny Wheelock said the ultimate purpose of the stormwater system is to enhance the natural beauty of the park, provide a real-world example of innovative stormwater management, and improve the water quality in Lower Creek.

“We anticipate designing walkways around the stormwater features and providing additional educational and recreational opportunities,” Wheelock said. “The outcome should be better stormwater management, a stabilized stream, attractive rain gardens to address areas of the park that tend to stay wet, and make the park easier to maintain and more accessible to visitors.”

Wheelock said she really appreciated the help of the local Extension office and NCSU.

“A big thank you is in order to Bill Hunt with NC State and Seth Nagy, our local Extension Director. They wrote the EPA grant application and they have advocated on our behalf for this project,” Wheelock said. “We are excited to work with them on implementing this part of our plan.”

The entire project cost is estimated at approximately $400,000. The $240,000 EPA grant will be used to buy supplies. The City match is $100,000, which will likely be met with in-kind labor used to build and install the system. NCSU will providing the remaining match with in-kind services such as project oversight. The grant money will be available in January 2019, and the City will have two years to complete the project. Construction will likely start in late 2019 or early 2020.

Current Improvements

The City has made many of the Phase 1 improvements to J.E. Broyhill Park that were recommended in the North Main Small Area Plan.

Workers have removed three dilapidated shelters, the old restrooms, the old park office, and the old basketball court.

The City built three new picnic shelters; installed new picnic tables, trash cans, and grills; graded and filled the lower section of the park; planted landscaping; graded and installed asphalt for the new basketball court; and built new restrooms by the upper parking lot.

Parks and Recreation Director Kenny Story said workers plan to install fencing and stripe the basketball court in the next week or so, weather permitting. The next step will be to resurface the parking lot, and then install new signs.

“We are hoping to complete Phase One of this project by the end of September, depending on weather and contractors,” Story said.