Carterville Creates City Park on Reclaimed Land
The city of Carterville creates a park where chat piles once stood. A property donation and grant are helping the city solve more than just a recreation problem.
Marjorie Bischoff can look out at walking trails taking shape behind her home in a new city park. She says, “Me and my fiance’ and my dogs will use it a lot. It’ll help lose weight.”
Marjorie says it will be an improvement over the city’s only other park that stretches a mere city block in length. She says, “It’s ok, but it’s kind of small. I think this bigger park coming in will be wonderful for the city.”
Carterville director of public works, Mike Smith says, “This used to be mine reclamation land. There was mine holes, pits and gravel chat piles and the EPA came in, done a marvelous job of cleaning it up which allows us in turn to turn this into a park. So it goes from a wasteland to a park”
Right now crews are creating a parking lot at the east entrance which will connect to the half mile walking trail. A playground will be placed next to the trail. And next to it, in a natural depression, a small pond. which will also help solve a flooding problem.
Smith says it’s, “Dual purpose because we have problems with storm water runoff. It’s just a drainage ditch right now. When you get them big rains like we had. We’re hoping to eliminate some of that by holding it up here in the storm water retention pond and not releasing all of it at one time.”
Crews have already used more than two hundred tons of gravel. And the money to pay for that is coming from a Department of Natural Resources Parks and Recreation grant.
Smith says, “It’s for fifty-five thousand dollars which is helping us tremendously getting this park going sooner rather than later.”
Glen Garrett, president of Tri State Motor Transit donated eighteen and a half acres of property for the park which will also include little league and soccer fields up top and a disc golf course.
Garrett says, “The community’s been good to us. I hope we’ve been good the community.”
Bischoff believes it will be.
Smith says local churches plan to help install the playground as soon as the trails and parking lot have been chipped and sealed. He believes most parts of the park will be complete by August.