Photo by Heather Middleton
By Mehgaan Jones
The City of College Park has been nominated by ARC-CREATE (Atlanta Regional Commission) for the 2010 Local Government Innovations Award, in the category of Environmental Sustainability.
"Any recognition that the city receives is good for the city," said College Park City Engineer and Project Manager Jackson Myers.
"The award recognizes local governments that have made outstanding contributions to reduce their community's environmental footprint in the areas of energy, water, green purchasing, facility or site design/green buildings, electronic stewardship, fleet and transportation, and waste prevention/recycling," said College Park Spokesman Gerald Walker.
The award ceremony will be held on March 3, at the Atlanta Regional Commission, said Myers.
According to College Park officials, the city was nominated because of the development of the "City of College Park Innovative Stormwater Management Program," which improves stormwater quality, relieves detention pond requirements for prospective builders, and renovates the pond, which is located next to the city's municipal golf course.
"This is what I am here for ... It is something good for the city ... something that needed to be done," said Myers.
The project, which began in 2009, and was completed in 2010, was funded by a Georgia Environmental Finance Authority/American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (GEFA/ARRA) loan, which required cooperation from Prime Engineering, a consulting group, the City of College Park's management, and the community, he said.
Myers described the scope of the project as part of a larger initiative to redevelop the area near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
"Due to decades of abandonment, the area's stormwater system was in disrepair," Gerald Walker added. "The City accomplished the renovation by implementing aesthetically appealing TreePod biofilters that treat initial runoff and filter out impurities, and by consolidating the scattered collection system into a centralized, state-of-the art piped system," he continued.
"They [TreePod biofilters] are crepe myrtles and dogwood [trees], when they bloom," Walker said. "They blend in with other foliage."
"It [TreePod biofilter] is one of the first ones done in the Southeast," said Myers.
Walker, College Park's spokesman, explained that additional renovations to the city's golf pond and pumping station, have improved water quality by producing clean, sediment-free stormwater.
According to city officials, the new storm system provides state-of-the art stormwater infrastructure, but uses less land area than more conventional water-quality facilities.