A $24,000 grant from the Kentucky Water Resources Institute will mean a more green-friendly Lake Mingo this coming spring.
The grant will enable a small portion of the nearly 400-yard concrete drainage ditch to be removed and a ditch that appears natural put in its place, said David Lafferty, engineer supervisor with the Nicholasville Planning Commission.
“What we had to do was put together a proposal of something that would improve water quality, and in addition, it would also be something that could be an educational opportunity and a place where people could participate,” Lafferty said.
In the last several days, workers have been constructing a 200-foot stream bed that runs on the west side, or parking-lot side, of the concrete drainage ditch.
In the spring, Lafferty said workers will install hydrophilic plants — plants that can survive in wet or dry weather — along the stream. The type of plants will be determined at a later date.
“I’m going to leave that up to hopefully the people that will provide the plants,” Lafferty said.
The original plan called for the removal of a 200-foot portion of the concrete ditch, but Lafferty said the wet winter weather changed his mind.
“We don’t want a big mud pit sitting out there all winter long,” he said. “We left the concrete ditch in service for now. We’ve dug the ditch and we’ve got a turf mat on it now, and with the little bit of warm weather and the rain we’ve gotten, hopefully the winter wheat in the mat mixture will sprout up and stabilize that soil during the winter.”
Once spring arrives, workers will remove the portion of the concrete ditch.
“Then we can go in and rip that ditch out and replace the soil and grade it to flow to the new ditch,” Lafferty said.
The 200-foot stretch of new ditch will extend from the base of Lake Mingo.
“With the amount of money I had, I tried to take it as far upstream as I could go,” Lafferty said. “My vision for the project is in the spring, we will have some civic groups, maybe some school groups or Cub Scouts to go over there and help plant some plants in the buffer area.”
Lafferty also said once the project is competed, signs will be installed to inform park users about the stream-water restoration project.