The Kent Parks and Recreation Department, along with the City Engineer's office held a community meeting last week about what to do with the stretch of Plum Creek that runs through the parks by the same name. The Record Courier (inaccurately) covered it in this story. Basically, the culvert through which the creek passes under Mogadore Road is in poor condition, and in need of repair. There are four alternatives, ranging from doing nothing to repairing the culvert, removing the dam, and restoring the stream (Alternative 3). Alternative 3 would include minimal cost to the city both short and long term, thanks in part to stimulus money and money for the water improvement that this project would bring about. Also of note is that this dam is one of the few remaining impediments on tributaries of the Cuyahoga River, so removing the dam at this point would help to improve water quality of the Crooked River. You can see the plans in the pictures below, just click on them to see the full size.
"If this project is such a no-brainer, where's the battle?" you might ask. Well, on the other side of the creek from the park. There are a number of houses which lie across the stream from the park right now, and the homeowners have expressed concern about flooding (which will decrease with the improved stream function, but they don't see that), and trespassing on their property. One homeowner apparently has already found a pistol in his back yard, and this is before the improvements (mind you, he admitted it was never reported to the police- me thinks me smells a fish). These same residents would most likely see an increase in their home value thanks to the improved park, but I haven't heard any of them mentioning that. Restoration of the stream should also limit the number of Canada's Geese and mosquitoes there, by restoring some normalcy to the functioning of the stream- both of which are good things for aesthetics- but alas, not being mentioned by the home owners.
My son and I frequent Plum Creek Park, and you can bet we'll be there even more the next couple of weeks (gathering signatures to present to city council in support of Plum Creek Park Alternative 3 while we play, in case you're wondering). There's a great diversity of people that come to the park- all income levels, lots of different cultures, babies up to senior citizens. Not to mention the ball fields as well. If you want to see a great park made even better, and the greater city of Kent benefiting in numerous ways, might I suggest you come check us out at the park? And if you feel like doing something good, feel free to write to your city council member and let them know you support Alternative 3, or let me know and I can provide you with a pre-written letter.
Also, stop by Kitchen Stewardship and see a couple of fun prizes she's giving away.