Champions for Village Creek Greenway

New Hope for Village Creek

Village Creek by Beth Maynor Young

Photo courtesy of Beth Maynor Young

Village Creek, which flows through the heart of Birmingham, was once considered one of the most polluted streams in Alabama. Today, thanks to the Freshwater Land Trust, there is new hope. The Freshwater Land Trust has gathered together community, non-profit, city and business leaders who are working together to transform Village Creek into a community asset. This group, called the Champions for Village Creek Greenway, is directing efforts to create a system of greenways, parks and trails that will improve the water quality and the quality of life for residents in the Village Creek watershed.

The mission of the Champions for Village Creek Greenway is to engage and educate the community in the development of a series of parks and greenways along Village Creek with the goal of improving water quality and the quality of life for the community.

The Freshwater Land Trust has hired Auburn University’s Urban Studio to create a master greenway plan for Village Creek. This greenway plan will serve as the blueprint for park and trail development in the Village Creek Watershed.

For a downloadable brochure, please click here.

The Birth of the Village Creek Greenway
The Freshwater Land Trust’s Champions for Village Creek Greenway, the Southern Environmental Center and the Jefferson County Department of Health have teamed up to construct and maintain a trail that starts near the headwaters of Village Creek.

Plans for the Village Creek Greenway, which will eventually stretch 26 miles from Roebuck to Ensley, include viewing stations and signage which will educate visitors about the efforts to restore and beautify Village Creek.

View of Village Creek
The Village Creek Greenway will provide ample recreational opportunities to area residents. Construction of the Village Creek Greenway will also help improve the creek’s water quality. Bioswales to be constructed along the greenway will capture storm water runoff and serve as natural filtration systems before water enters the creek. Through restoration projects and volunteer work days, invasive plants like privet will be removed to enhance wetlands surrounding the creek in efforts to reduce flooding.

Funding for the trailhead clearing and construction is made possible by a Five Star National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant in partnership with Southern Company. This grant was awarded in 2010.

Want to help build the trail? Contact the Village Creek Watershed Coordinator at 205.417.2777.

$200,000 Brownfield Assessment Grant for Village Creek
The Freshwater Land Trust was awarded an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfield Assessment Grant in 2010. The $200,000 grant is being used to assess properties within the Village Creek Watershed for possible petroleum contamination.

What is a Brownfield?

Brownfields are real property of which the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. Read more on the EPA’s website.

How can Brownfields negatively impact my community?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, brownfields can negatively impact property values in a community. Brownfields can cause blight in communities, increase crime and perpetuate urban sprawl. Cleaning up and reinvesting in these properties protects the environment, reduces blight, and takes development pressures off greenspaces and working lands.  Once brownfields are cleaned up, property values in nearby residential areas have increased between two and three percent.

How can I get Brownfields in my community addressed?

The Freshwater Land Trust is creating a comprehensive database of all brownfields in the Village Creek watershed. If you know of a brownfield in your community, please contact the Freshwater Land Trust.