Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Keep Overton Park for people

Tuesday, March 10, 2009 - Commercial Appeal
"Keep Overton Park for people"

Flood control retention basins have proven to be an effective flood control option. But plans to put a water retention basin in the city's premier inner-city park have legitimately raised eyebrows.

Officials want to construct an underground culvert and a retention basin in Overton Park to divert and store high flows along Lick Creek. The stream occasionally floods the Belleair area just south of the park.

The $4 million-plus project is part of a long-range, $140 million game plan for drainage improvements planned across the city. City officials promise the project will be non-intrusive and will blend in with the surroundings, citing similar basins constructed on the Audubon Park golf course.

Representatives of Citizens to Preserve Overton Park want the city to look at other flood-control alternatives, saying the project would damage the park.

We're not engineers, but we do know retention basins can be a problem, even the ones in Audubon.

They don't always drain properly and they can draw pollutants that you don't want adults and children playing on. They attract trash and sediment, and need constant maintenance to keep the area looking nice. And they can be mosquito breeding grounds during warm weather.

Putting such a project in a park that draws so many adults, children and pets just generates bad vibes.