Restoring the Flow
You may have noticed significant construction activity at Mathis Park in recent weeks. The City of Hopewell's Stormwater Management Division is in the middle of a stream restoration project that is designed to improve water quality, control erosion, and prevent flooding at the park. The project area includes a small tributary of Cabin Creek that carries water from the Hopewell High School campus to the creek. During heavy rains, a tremendous amount of water is forced through this small channel, causing significant erosion in the upper stream and flooding around the Mathis playground and concession building. The stream channel was so badly eroded that it was more than 10 feet deep in some places and had toppled massive trees through the erosion process. The project will fully rebuild the stream bed by adding a functioning flood plain that is designed to allow water to leave the channel, spread out, slow down, and deposit sediment during extreme weather events. Additional features like step pools, log sills, and other erosion control methods will stabilize the channel to prevent future erosion. The open ditch near the Mathis Park playground will be piped underground, preventing overflow into the playground area. Additional stream improvements will be made between the parking lot and Cabin Creek. The project will cost $520,729 and is completely grant funded, meaning no taxpayer dollars will be used. The funding sources include the Virginia Environmental Endowment, DEQ Stormwater Local Assistance Fund, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (in partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation). The project is being administered by Joe Battiata, Hopewell's stormwater program manager. In terms of water quality, the project is designed to remove 625 pounds of nitrogen, 255 pounds of phosphorous, and 486,181 pounds of total suspended solids (sediment) per year. The project will help the City meet is mandated limitations for total maximum daily load (TMDL). The construction will continue through May 1, 2021, and will require intermittent closures of the Mathis Park playground and other park areas. Park visitors are reminded to stay clear of construction vehicles and to never enter an area that has been closed for construction activity.