Bath receives $55,000 grant for stormwater management on former industrial train depot lot

by Trish Rudder

The Town of Bath has been awarded a $55,400 grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust from the Green Streets, Green Jobs, Green Towns Award Program for the installation of stormwater management practices to revitalize the Berkeley Springs Depot lot.

The innovative design will turn the eastern portion of the former rail yard into a usable community green space planted with native trees, shrubs, and perennial wildflowers.

Bath councilwoman Rebecca MacLeod, who is the project manager, said Downstream Strategies LLC developed the design with assistance from Matt Pennington.

It will serve as an example of how to turn a barren gravel lot into a resilient landscape using green engineering and minimal excavation on the remediated brownfield, MacLeod said last week.

“One of the challenges will be to move all the stored yellow brick from Fairfax Street to somewhere on the lot where it won’t impede the North Berkeley Rail Trail construction. We estimate we need about 5,000 sq. ft. to store the pavers as well as the red brick from Washington Street that are from previous Streetscape projects,” MacLeod said.

The Town of Bath grant was part of the $1,850,576 funding from The Chesapeake Bay Trust, in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

The awards included 36 projects in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and D.C.

The awards help communities develop and implement plans that reduce stormwater runoff; increase the number of green spaces in urban areas; improve the health of local rivers, streams, the Chesapeake Bay, and the human populations within the communities; create “green jobs;” reduce energy use; and enhance livability in cities and communities, MacLeod said.

The Town of Bath has been incorporating green infrastructure into its Streetscape Program since 2015.

It has successfully used environmental grants from the Chesapeake Bay Trust, WVDEP, EPA, and other local sources to install Silva Cells, open bottom planter boxes, underground water storage for tree wells, and rain gardens in the community while upgrading sidewalks and drainage systems and have become a local example for other small communities.

“I’m proud of the reputation Berkeley Springs has as a Green Community,” MacLeod said. “The work that the town and the Warm Springs Watershed Association are doing with limited funds to improve water quality while reducing flooding risks will help other towns and state agencies understand that implementing these decentralized stormwater control systems that fit into the landscape are practical and economical.”

Macleod expects a contracting package will be ready for local contractors to bid on in August.

She hopes to have the construction completed in time for establishment of a fall cover crop. Final landscaping and planting will be done in early 2024.

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The Berkeley Springs Depot stormwater facility will be a nature-inspired solution for the existing gravel lot and will feature a dry streambed created with native Oriskany sandstone and plants similar to the Congress Street rain gardens.
photo submitted by Rebecca MacLeod