Grant approved to help improve water quality

A EPA grant will help fund a project designed to restore the banks of Spy Run Creek at Franke Park.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) A $367,000 grant, requested by Northeastern Indiana Regional Coordinating Council, has been approved by the E.P.A.

The money is part of a program designed to help clean the Great Lakes, especially the area around the Maumee River.

The grant will fund projects and educational programs around the Fort Wayne area. Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation is one of the groups that will use the money.

“It’s important. It’s both important for what we’re trying to do here in Fort Wayne and it’s important at a bigger scale,” Landscape Architect Alec Johnson said.

Johnson has been involved in the projects and helped put the grant application together.

“They’re all intended to improve water quality, to reduce pollution that’s entering into our rivers and eventually ends up in the Great Lakes,” Johnson added.

Those project areas include Spy Run Creek at Franke Park. A complete restoration including grading the banks and adding plants will filter the water and help control flooding.

In a similar situation, at Bloomingdale Park, near downtown, crews will work to slow erosion along the bank, preventing silt from flowing into the water.

At Promenade Park, the centerpiece of riverfront development, a device called a Bioswale will filter storm water.

All of these ideas were in the works, but the people behind the scenes were still looking for funding.

“When we got the word, it freed us up to do some other things,” Johnson added. “It was a good news day for us.”

The Allen County Partnership for Water Quality will also get some of the funds. That group plans to use the money to educate residents of the Maumee River Basin on ways to improve water quality at their properties.