|photo taken from archdaily|
Lets remain at the area around the Hiawatha Boulevard bridge a bit longer to discuss an area of future potential along the creekwalk. What if, in addition to awkwardly crossing the Hiawatha Boulevard bridge, the creekwalk had a spur that remained on the south side of the creek/canal and passed under the bridge. It would then follow the water's edge along side the sewage treatment plant and out to the lake. You're surely thinking "ew, that sounds like a terribly gross idea," but bear with me here. This strip of land [highlighted in the image below] has the potential to be an amazingly lush, bio-diverse, and dare I say beautiful, segment of the creekwalk.
Due to this site's adjacency to the Metro sewage treatment plant, it would be a prime place to create a constructed wetland, in the same vein as the Omega Center in Rhinebeck, NY or the Sidwell Friends School in DC [pictured at the head of this post], but on a larger scale. In the most basic sense, a constructed wetland naturally transforms wastewater into water clean enough to reintroduce into our waterways. The process happens through a series of compartments [often terraced] containing a diverse array plants and organisms that clean and scrub the water just as they do in a natural wetland. Untreated or partially-treated water could be diverted from the Metro plant and into this system that will do the same job as the nearby machinery, but with minimal need for oversight and maintenance. Stress on the sewage plant would be reduced while the constructed wetland offers a much more pleasant face to the creek/canal than the backside of the wastewater holding tanks. This could be a prime project for the Metro plant, the city, and the county's Save the Rain program to team up and create a system that not only adds a beautiful segment to the creekwalk, but also a project that could act as a model for such systems all over the country.