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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Charles Town in Jefferson County, West Virginia — The American South (Appalachia)
 

Brownfields to Greenfields

Transforming a Contaminated Industrial Site to a Community Park & Nature Area

 
 
Brownfields to Greenfields Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, April 25, 2020
1. Brownfields to Greenfields Marker
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This 5.26-acre waterside community park was created through a collaborative effort by the City of Charles Town, the Evitts Run Conservancy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the West Virginia Department of Environmental PRotection. This park is part of a broader vision for transformation of the Evitts Run Creek corridor into a system of parks, nature and recreational areas that includes Evitts Run Park, the Jefferson County Boys & Girls Club, and the Ranson Civic Center to the north; Charles Washington Park and Happy Retreat to the southeast; and other community green spaces and parks planned for the future along Evitts Run Creek. This property was given to the community by the Perry Family, who donated much of the land that makes up the Evitts RUn Park system as part of their contributions to the Charles Town community for generations.

This creekside park area in front of you was historically the location of a Manufactured Gas Plant. During the 1800s, in towns and cities across the United States manufactured gas was produced from materials such as coal, diesel and other fuels. The fuel produced at a manufactured
Brownfields to Greenfields Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, April 25, 2020
2. Brownfields to Greenfields Marker
gas plant (MGP) was used to light homes, businesses and street lamps. Prior to World War II, over a thousand such plants existed throughout the United States, particularly in cities and towns in the East and Midwest. When the interstate pipeline introduced natural gas in the 1950's, MGPs rapidly disappeared. However, the operations of these plants left MGP by-products (tar and oils) at these sites that are being cleaned up under today's environmental standards.

The City of Charles Town and the and the Evitts Run Conservancy used more than $1 million in resources from the U.S. EPA and local contributors to cap the impacted area of the site with a geo-synthetic membrane that separates the MGP by-product impacted soils from clean soils placed above the membrane. The membrane ensures that the MGP-impacted soils remain in place and are not moved by surface water runoff, erosion, or other means into Evitts Run Creek, making the site protective of public health and the environment, while providing a much needed amenity on the West End of Charles Town.

One of the unique features incorporated into this park is a raingarden. Raingardens, also referred to as bio-retention filters are a type of green infrastructure that handles and cleans stormwater runoff while also adding both beauty and functionality to the raingarden through both underground and aboveground engineered
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systems. This raingarden incorporates many of the pollutant removal mechanism that operate in a forested ecosystem. During the storms the stormwater runoff will pond above the mulch and soil in the system, and then filter through the much and prepared soil mix filtering any remaining pollution, supply clean groundwater to the underlying aquifer, help maintain stream flows during summer dry months, and provide habitat for butterflies, birds and other woodland creatures.

When not handling stormwater, this raingarden could provide amenity space for the community to gather at the benches under the surrounding shade trees, a rest stop while walking the many planned trails, and could double as a stormwater control educational facility in addition to serving stormwater treatment functions.

With cleanup complete, this long-time polluted site has become a park that will support healthy lifestyles, access to nature, and family enjoyment for the future.
 
Erected by City of Charles Town, West Virginia; West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: EnvironmentIndustry & CommerceParks & Recreational Areas.
 
Location. 39° 17.171′ 
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N, 77° 51.935′ W. Marker is in Charles Town, West Virginia, in Jefferson County. Marker is at the intersection of South Mt. Parvo Street and West Congress Street, on the right when traveling south on South Mt. Parvo Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 515 W Congress St, Charles Town WV 25414, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A Brief History of the Old Presbyterian Church in Charles Town (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Martin Robinson Delany (approx. 0.2 miles away); Old Stone House / Star Lodge No. 1 (approx. 0.2 miles away); John Thomas Marker (approx. 0.2 miles away); Martin Robison Delany (approx. ¼ mile away); Office of Charles Washington (approx. ¼ mile away); Charles Town Schools (approx. ¼ mile away); Williams House (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Charles Town.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 26, 2020. It was originally submitted on April 26, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 48 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on April 26, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.
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Jan. 22, 2021