Plum Creek Park to see renovations from stimulus money

Kathie Zipp

Plan on final list to receive $1 million to turn pond into stream

Plum Creek pond could become Plum Creek stream by 2010. Federal stimulus money may allow the elimination of the dam, restoring the creek to its natural condition.

City Engineer Jim Bowling summarized the creek’s problems on the blog of David Ruller, Kent City manager. According to the blog, the stream has eroded the foundation beneath the culvert that is below Mogadore Road, so it will need to be replaced. There’s also a high volume of sediment, which is not only physically unpleasing, but also negatively affects the quality of the fish and other water life.??

The pond is located in Plum Creek Park, and can be reached by driving down Cherry Street and turning left before Mogadore Road.

Kent resident Edith Chase said she recently observed the state of the pond.

??”I went out with a yardstick and measured the water level at only 5 inches,” she said.

??Chase also said the large amount of algae uses up oxygen and makes the water a “gray, sad-looking thing.”

??John Idone, director of Kent parks and recreation, said he also sees problems with the state of the pond.

“Once water is below 3 feet, it can’t sustain much life,” he said.??

The city has not dredged the pond since 1978, when crews removed 24,000 cubic yards of soil. Idone said dredging the pond could be costly and would need to be repeated every 15 to 20 years.?

?Bowling also wrote the project would cost approximately $680,000 just to replace the Mogadore Road culvert, and the leaking dam and siltation would still be a problem.

After Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the city applied for funding for the entire project including dam removal, stream restoration and culvert replacement. The plan is on the final list to receive $1 million through the bill, if it includes natural stream restoration.

“The best thing to do would be to remove the dam and make it a free-flowing stream,” Idone said. ??

Idone said plans also include building a deck for fishing and reusing sandstones for an amphitheater that can be used during summer camps.

Built in 1879, the Plum Creek dam has some historical significance because the site was the city’s original water treatment plant, Idone said.

Chase actively supports the proposal and said most of the community now backs the project as well.

“I think those neighbors who are still unsure are so because they have trouble visualizing the changes,” Chase said.

Idone said he feels the improvements made to Plum Creek are necessary for the Kent community.

??”It’s in a state where we have to do something,” Idone said. “This is a great opportunity to do so.”

Contact public affairs reporter Kathie Zipp at [email protected].