City to expand Flat Branch Park

Plans would add fountains, a bridge and a playground.
Wednesday, April 13, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 1:10 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Columbia Parks and Recreation Commission has plans this summer to begin redevelopment of another part of Flat Branch Creek.

From 2000 to 2001, the city redeveloped part of the creek by removing the concrete that made up its creek bed and developing the surrounding area with walkways, benches and a gazebo.

That area is known as Flat Branch Park, and the city plans to extend the park with similar redevelopment projects in the area of the creek from Locust to Elm streets.

There are plans for a bridge across the creek, as well as several fountains. A playground has also been proposed.

“Hopefully it will be a place where events can occur,’’ said Mike Griggs, park services manager. “Where people can gather and have lunch or a picnic.”

The concrete creek bed is the result of a cement company that used to be where Hardee’s is currently located. The company dumped extra concrete behind the building, and the concrete found its way into the creek.

The city wants to remove all of the concrete.

Griggs said a natural stone couldn’t be found in the creek before the redevelopment of Flat Branch Park.

More than $300,000 in donations and $350,000 in grants will finance the development.

The city is waiting on permits from the Department of Natural Resources and the Army Corps of Engineers before starting the project this summer.

Steve Saitta, park development superintendent, said the department is currently choosing a contractor for the cleanup of the site. All of the oil contamination has to be removed before the creek restoration and construction of the park can begin.

Saitta said this will take most of the summer. He said there’s no timetable on the project, but development of the park should begin by the summer of 2006.

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