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Little Sugar Creek - Freedom Park
Stream Restoration, Water Quality Enhancement and Community Education

Little Sugar Creek babbles as it meanders through Freedom Park surrounded by lush vegetation.  Fish swim in the water.  Birds and butterflies take flight overhead.

The Freedom Park Project, completed in 2003, was one of the largest urban stream restoration projects undertaken to date in Mecklenburg County. 

Forces of nature often cause streams to change, especially urban streams. Because of that, Storm Water Services continues to make repairs as needed to the channel and banks. Improvements to Little Sugar Creek in Freedom Park are being made in the spring of 2008.

Completed: 2003.  Continued stream maintenance and repairs: 2008.

Little Sugar Creek at Freedom Park
Restoring the stream channel in Freedom Park
Restoring the stream channel in Freedom Park
Objectives:
  • Restore the meandering path of the stream that years before had been straightened and channeled into a concrete ditch
  • Remove a concrete dam to allow the water to flow naturally
  • Create a better environment for aquatic life and wildlife
  • Improve appearance of the stream
  • Provide educational opportunities for schools and the community 
Cost: $1.8 million

Sources of Funding:
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services: $300,000
North Carolina Ecosystem Enhancement Program: $1,500,000

Little Sugar Creek in Freedom Park doesn't just look different.  It is different.  As technology has improved and knowledge increased, streams like Little Sugar Creek are considered living, breathing ecosystems, not simply drainage ditches.  The concrete dam and liner were removed, sections of the stream were moved 150 feet, and four meanders were added.  
 
The restored stream bed means less stream bank erosion.  The removal of the sterile liner and addition of specially-chosen plants along the creek provide a more natural habitat for fish, birds and butterflies.  The restored stream is reducing flood risks, providing a better place for plants and animals to live, reducing pollution and decreasing erosion.

 A more natural look to Little Sugar Creek

 
Although the Freedom Park Stream Restoration Project has been completed for some time, occasionally maintenance issues do occur and are addressed by Storm Water Services.