Chattanooga Engineers Club

CEC meeting- Redesign of Historic East Lake Park, Mo Minkara & David Mason

  • 25 Sep 2017
  • 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
  • Chattanoogan

Redesign of Historic East Lake Park, Mounir Minkara, Manager, Water Quality Division, City of Chattanooga, David Mason, PE, CDM Smith

East Lake Park is a large beautiful park in South Chattanooga with an almost two-acre spring fed pond.  It was Chattanooga’s first park and housed a zoo in the early 1900s. Today it stands in the midst of an urban neighborhood with the community elementary school aligning the south side of the park.  The East Lake Park Water Quality Improvements project is an effort led by the City of Chattanooga’s Water Quality Program in the Department of Public Works to restore the East Lake Park’s spring fed pond to an aesthetic and manageable condition, and to enhance the park with green infrastructure, educational features and recreation opportunities. The project aims to clean up the pond and apply community feedback to make improvements to the park. The Lyndhurst Foundation jump-started the makeover, which was estimated to cost $700K, with a $200K donation last year.

Mr. Mason described many aspects of evaluation including: 

  • ·         Bathymetric – the pond varies from 2 to 6 feet in depth, and has accumulated about one foot of sediment mostly at the low end.
  • ·         Hydrologic – the pond actually has a complete concrete base, and maintains a fairly steady level.
  • ·         Nutrient load – beside the internal vegetation, waterfowl and the food people throw to them create an abnormally high nutrient level.
  • ·         Ecological – there are no endangered species or hazardous contaminations to account for.

The community was engaged in numerous creative ways to suggest their preferences. Relocation of the playground from the wet end of the park was popular, as well as creating an outdoor classroom, providing a boardwalk for fishing and better access to the water, and installing better area lighting.  Most of these requests are outside the scope of a water quality program and come to about $500K additional costs which are being sought through other city departments.

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