Foundry Road to NOEL FIELD
In this potential option the designer imagines a transformed northeast bank to create an area with a mix of public amenities including a children’s play park, sports fields and a trail system for passive recreation. There would also be room to establish either a community facility, athletic complex or an environmental center to allow students to undertake research and experimental learning.
A bridge would connect the two sides of the river in the Noel Field area. The earthen berm would be moved outward to create room for an attractive river path and more flood plain area while maintaining the same capacity to pass flood waters. The newly expanded river channel would be planted with native plants able to withstand the occasional high river flows. The addition of plants and a more river friendly profile would create some habitat for aquatic species and a peaceful landscape for visitors.
This same stretch of the South Branch could take a very different course- literally. The designers determined it is technically feasible to reroute the river out of the bermed channel during normal flows. In the vicinity of Foundry Road a control structure could be used to pass the river into its natural, remnant floodplain south of the earthen berm. The river would be free to meander through the wetland where it would be cooled by shade trees and the natural conditions would allow an aquatic community to develop.
Direct access to the river would be another benefit. The river would be redirected back into the engineered concrete channel at the baseball stadium where the chutes begin. Should serious flooding be forecast, the control structure would direct the river back into the bermed channel to pass through the flood chutes just as they do now. This option also sees a small consolidation of the metal recycling yard to make room for additional greenspace and a loop walking trail. Pedestrian bridges linking the two sides of the river could be constructed to complete the loop.