By Susannah Patton
Little Rock, AR (May 23, 2008)- The team behind an environmentally sensitive parking lot at Gulley Park hopes it will be an example for developers and builders, encouraging them to use stormwater management practices that protect water quality rather than harm it. The city of Fayetteville partnered with the University of Arkansas Department of Landscape Architecture and the Arkansas Forestry Commission to build the 30-space parking lot with four bioswales located on the south and southwest sides of the lot and the center island.
At a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday evening, Mayor Dan Coody said the parking lot off of Old Wire Road is a demonstration project that shows how stormwater can be collected in bioswales that effectively filter water as it passes through vegetation. “This is a very important project for Fayetteville,” Coody said.
Bioswales are designed to treat runoff water, trapping pollutants and silt, before the water flows into the watershed.
The project was partially funded with a $ 12, 000 grant from the Arkansas Forestry Commission’s Urban Forestry Program. “It was a good investment,” Coody said. ” When everybody pulls together like this, it’s amazing what we can do.”
Patti Erwin, an urban forestry coordinator with the Arkansas Forestry Commission, said the commission is trying to educate people on the benefits of stormwater management technologies such as bioswales. “Builders and developers can look at this and see how it’s done and see that it can be done,” she said. “Hopefully, we will see a lot more of these.” Mark Boyer, a professor of landscape architecture at the University of Arkansas, said the parking lot is an example of going beyond what the law requires to create a more sustainable environment. “This is a great thing for the city and a great way to showcase sustainability practices,” he said. “I’m just tickled pink that I was a part of the process.”
Arkansas Urban Forestry Council
City celebrates new environmentally friendly parking lot- Northwest Arkansas Times