COLUMBIA — The parking lot outside the new main office at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park will feature a new kind of pavement that park officials hope will not only curb pollution but also educate mid-Missourians about the benefits of pervious pavers.
This type of pavement is designed to prevent the flow of antifreeze, oil and other pollutants from vehicles into nearby streams. Rock Bridge park naturalist Roxie Campbell said park workers have been interested for many years in finding a way to protect the water quality of the park’s streams.
“This being a public place provides us with an opportunity to demonstrate to the public some cutting-edge technology that can help with catching pollutants and preventing them from getting into streams,” Campbell said.
The paver system is built around turf blocks, which are special blocks of cement with small holes in them. A three-inch layer of sand and gravel will lie beneath the pavers. The system absorbs pollutants rather than allowing them to run off into streams during rain storms.
Campbell said the pavers will benefit many different aspects of the park, particularly the lives of aquatic animals.
In addition to the pavers, plans for the park’s new office also include a rain garden that will help maintain vegetation around the building and prevent flooding. The garden would direct rain into a small body of water where it would eventually move into the creek or be absorbed by the soil.
Tonight, the Boone County Commission signed a contract with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to split the cost of the two projects. The total bill is an estimated $61,557.
Terry Frueh, a watershed conservationist for Boone County, said the county will pay 60 percent of the total, using a federal grant. The Natural Resources Department will pay the remaining 40 percent.
“The cost-share program helps different landowners implement the best management practices that will protect the streams,” Frueh said.
The pavers and rain garden are scheduled to be completed by the spring or early summer of 2008.
Campbell said she hopes the use of the pavers and the rain garden in the park will encourage others to do the same.