January 19, 2005
MECKLENBURG COUNTY'S LITTLE SUGAR CREEK GREENWAY WINS ENVIRONMENTAL EXCELLENCE AWARD
Charlotte, NC - A recently completed section of the Little Sugar Creek Greenway has won the annual Award for Excellence in Environmental Planning and Conservation given by Centralina Council of Governments (COG). The award is for the 2.2 mile section from Morehead Street to Brandywine Road.
This section includes the Liz Hair Nature Walk with ornamental gardens along the banks, a variety of techniques to improve water flow and quality, plus a major effort to remove invasive plants that crept into the landscape over time. The private group Friends of Liz Hair raised $88,000 for the project to honor Elizabeth G. Hair, the first woman elected to the Board of County Commissioners and the first woman to chair the Board. She was an early advocate for open space and greenways. Farther downstream, near Westfield Road, the section includes retention ponds that slow the flow of storm water into the creek, allowing sediment and pollutants to settle out.
Planning, design, and construction of this section of Little Sugar Creek Greenway took more than five years and cost $16,000, including the federal buyout of 65 houses that often flooded. The project encompasses:
• improvement of water quality
• flood mitigation
• erosion control
• environmental education
• wildlife habitat
• greenway trail
• creation of a linear park that preserves open space for generations to come.
Little Sugar Creek Greenway will eventually stretch more than 15 miles from Cordelia Park, north of Charlotte, all the way to the South Carolina line.
Centrolina Council of Governments represents nine counties, including Mecklenburg. Its award recognizes efforts by the Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services, and the Land Use and Environmental Services Agency (LUESA) to clean up this once badly polluted urban creek.
"Little Sugar Creek is experiencing a rebirth," says Mecklenburg County Greenway Planner Gwen Cook. "Years of degradation are being reversed stone by stone, project by project."