Market Street shoreline to undergo transformation

MarketSt 2

Storm water runoff that has been rolling from a parking lot into the Wicomico River, carrying debris, will soon be filtered by a living shoreline.

A 300-foot-long bioretention system is being created on the shore at Market Street downtown.

“It’s going to be very attractive with a lot of nice plantings there. We’re very excited about it,” said Amanda Pollack, deputy director of public works for the city.

The city received a $255,000 grant from the Department of Natural Resources, and has hired Clean Venture in Quantico to complete the work.

Mayor Jim Ireton has made the cleanup of the Wicomico River among his top priorities.

To save money, and not overspend the grant, the Public Works Department is doing preparatory demolition work, including narrowing the parking lot.

“It had a wide drive aisle, so we’re making it a more normal width. Where there were parking spaces on the river, we’re taking those out for where the bioretention area will be,” Pollack explained.

Two or three parking spaces in Lot No. 12, near Market Street Inn, will be lost during the work, but will be replaced.

Pollack said the 20-foot-wide rain garden will filter pollutants before they tumble into the river. Button bush shrubs and native grasses will be planted  every two square feet, and will grow together.

That’s the goal of the project, to keep the river clean, but it has no bearing on drinking water, Pollack said.

“While we’re in that area working, the river will be cleaned up. We’re trying to clean that daily of debris.  Right now, any trash that falls in that parking lots is getting washed into the river, so this will contain that,” she said.

Planting is scheduled to begin in January, but could be later, depending on weather conditions.

Also pleased with the project is Jake Day, president of the Salisbury City Council.

“It will be a rain garden filled with native plants. There will be educational signage and types of plants that will grow well in that area. The River Walk will become a boardwalk along Market Street. “This was one of my first actions after I was elected,” Day said.

“The first week I was on the council we accepted this DNR project.”


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