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.