Portion of Black Swamp Reserve to become park

Reporter and Reporter

Besides being a place for the city to store storm water, the more than 65 acres of the Black Swamp Reserve will also be turned into a public park.

At the end of April, residents of Bowling Green are welcome to help plant about 4,000 tree seeds for the park.

In April 2003, Bowling Green bought about 12.6 acres of the Black Swamp Reserve, which is made up of wetlands.

“It’s a good example of what the Black Swamp would have seemed like [before it was drained],” said Michelle Grigore, director of Parks and Recreation for the city.

The land cost the city $75,000 and was originally purchased to store storm water, Grigore said. The reason for this is that the city cannot let storm water and sewage water drain into its water treatment facility together, because it would be fined by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Although the city of Bowling Green wants to drain its storm water into the Black Swamp Reserve land it purchased, this isn’t possible. Because the land bought is wetland, the city is not able to legally drain storm water there.

The city then turned to the Wood County Park District. The Park District bought 65.7 acres of the Black Swamp Reserve, said Neil Munger, director of the Wood County Park District. The park area is located west of Kenwood Avenue and north of Augusta Drive.

Since not all the land the Park District bought is wetland, the Park District allowed the city to drain its storm water into the land purchased by the county.

Before the storm water was separated from sewage water, when a large storm would hit, the water treatment facility would overflow, which is called a Combined Sewer Overflow, Grigore said.

This has been a problem with the city of Toledo, Grigore said. It has had a record of not separating storm water from sewage water, and this caused the sewage water to drain into rivers that led to Lake Erie. Because of this, Toledo has faced quite a bit of fines.

Toledo has since taken strides to keep CSOs from happening, such as the “Maywood Project,” according to the article “All that glitters is green” in the Toledo Free Press.

“Using rain gardens, bioswales, porous pavement, rain barrels and other green infrastructure, the goal is to reduce the amount of rainwater that enters into the city’s storm sewers and to improve water quality,” according to the article.

By draining storm water into the Black Swamp Reserve, the city will be safe from the fines of the EPA. The park will officially open in 2015.