“This renovation project has not only created significant park improvements and environmental benefits,” MPRD Assistant Director Angela Jackson said, “but it also serves as a demonstration of water quality tools needed for storm water management."
Design elements of the project include bio-retention and storm water infiltration as well as stream and meadow restoration with native plants to provide wildlife habitat and increase biodiversity, she explained.
“This project’s educational components and potential for future collaboration and partnerships have been extended in a variety of ways,” Jackson said. “Through on-site interpretive signage, printed brochures and web references to storm water management guidelines, educational opportunities can be self-guided; however, the site is also very conducive to workshops, programs and other events.
The City of Murfreesboro dedicated Old Fort Park on Oct. 29, 1977, she said. The city had purchased the original property, the Bills Farm, in 1965. With cooperative efforts among the City of Murfreesboro, Rutherford County and the Stones River National Battlefield, Old Fort Park soon became a significant attraction in Murfreesboro.
In addition to the appeals of Old Fort Golf Course and Fortress Rosecrans (an earthen fortress built during the Civil War), features have been added over the years to include a tennis complex and access to the Murfreesboro Greenway System, Jackson said. It maintains a traditional park atmosphere of large deciduous trees and open Greenspace; a small stream, Spring Branch, is fed year-round by springs and seeps near the park’s entrance off Old Fort Parkway.
In 2010, the City of Murfreesboro began a project to restore the stream to a more natural and healthy condition, she explained.
Along with a natural buffer and meadow grasses along the creek, several storm water quality treatment structures were installed, designed to capture sediment and pollutants picked up by rainfall runoff from the park’s pavement and grounds.
The improved aesthetics, reduced costs for maintenance and mowing and functioning features allow landowners, developers and all park visitors to see and understand the benefits of storm water management and environmentally responsible techniques.
The project was funded by storm water fees, she said. A partnership between Murfreesboro Water and Sewer Department (MWSD) and MPRD allowed Design Resource to design and oversee the $330,000 project. Southern Creations completed the construction, which satisfied federal and state recommendations for MS4 storm water management in such a visible, approachable area.
MWSD Storm Water Manager Robert Haley was instrumentally involved in the process, Jackson said.
“The teamwork between city departments throughout this process has been tremendous, and speaks well of our city leadership,” Haley said. “The Water and Sewer Board’s support of the project has shown true vision, and I think the real winners are our citizens."