BRIGHTON, Mich. -

Storm water from a 4,200-car parking lot will no longer flow into the Black Creek once construction is completed on the $3.3 million Storm Water Greenscape Project at Lake St. Clair Metropark.

The project involves replacing part of the 42-acre parking lot built in 1950 with eco-friendly parking areas and vegetative swales that, along with the nearby wetlands, collect and filter rainfall as part of a natural storm water management system.

The project will improve water quality by reducing the amount of untreated storm water flowing directly into Lake St. Clair.

A key element of the design is redirecting the flow of storm water from the existing outlet at Black Creek to a new open-water outlet at the Point Rosa Marsh.

The design also improves vehicle and pedestrian safety by installing new parking areas close to the Nature Center, rerouting the perimeter park road, and separating the hike/bike trail from the park road.

Two skating ponds and a sledding hill will be shaped into the new contours, and nearly 200 trees and 10 acres of native plants will be placed in green areas.

Two U.S. EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grants totaling $1.5 million will help fund the project.

“By expanding our green space and rerouting storm water runoff, we will improve the park’s aesthetics and the environment,” said John P. McCulloch, director of the Huron-Clinton Metroparks. “This is a big step forward on how to deal with storm water at this park, and can serve as a model for other communities to follow.

Construction is expected to begin on May 20. Heavy equipment will crumble up about one-half of the parking lot pavement. This material will remain in place and be reused as base for the new pavement.

Dan’s Excavating, Inc., of Shelby Township, is the general contractor.

The project brings park improvements since 2007 close to $10 million. In 2007, the park’s central plaza area was reconstructed at a cost of nearly $1 million. 

In 2009, a new golf starter building and picnic pavilion replaced aging facilities at a cost of $1.2 million.

A $3 million marina opened in 2010, replacing the one built in 1959, and $1.5 million of marsh restoration projects started in 2010.

The 770-acre park, which opened in 1950, hosts more than one million visitors each year.

For more information, contact Lake St. Clair Metropark at 586-463-4581 or go to www.metroparks.com

Located along the Huron and Clinton rivers, the Huron-Clinton Metroparks provide a natural oasis from urban and suburban life as well as year-round recreational activities and events.

A regional park system, the Metroparks consist of 13 beautiful parks covering 25,000 acres, ten spectacular public golf courses and two marinas on Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair, respectively. The parks also offer scenic nature trails, breathtaking beaches, educational activities and exciting water sports.

A vehicle entry permit is required to enter any Metropark and is only $25 annually for regular admission, $15 annually for seniors, or $5 daily. General information can be found at www.metroparks.com or by calling 1-800-47-PARKS.