During a heavy rainfall, Walnut Creek often spills over its banks and floods the trails and Southeast Raleigh neighborhoods nearby.
Its a well-known nuisance for property owners, renters and visitors to the Walnut Creek wetlands, an urban swamp two miles from downtown. But Raleigh leaders are hoping some upgrades will transform the area into a destination park and a point of pride for the community.
The Raleigh City Council on Tuesday approved a master plan for Walnut Creek Wetland Park, a 58-acre site inside the Interstate 440 Beltline. Under the plan, crews will replace the often-waterlogged woodland trails with boardwalks and bridges that will complement the greenways that run alongside the property. The plan also calls for a public garden, a two-story observation tower and education materials throughout the park.
The goal is to remind visitors of the wetlands role as a wildlife habitat, filter and and flood-prevention tool for the growing city, said Lora Greco, a landscape architect for Raleigh.
As Raleigh has grown, weve gotten more and more impervious surfaces, and all that water has to go somewhere, Greco said. At one time, it all kind of slowly made its way to creeks, ...