Cooper Creek Park Restoration Project
In 2021, Roeland Park will embark on a plan to revitalize Cooper Creek Park, which stretches some 900 feet along the creek between Roeland Drive and Ash Drive. Home to more than 300 trees and a variety of wildlife, the park is overrun with invasive species and in dire need of habitat restoration. As a gateway to our city, it also needs a makeover.
The Cooper Creek Park Restoration Project is a City Council Objective led by Councilmember Trisha Brauer, in cooperation with Parks Superintendent Tony Nichols, the Parks Committee, the Arts Committee, the Sustainability Committee, and local citizens, aims to both beautify the park and restore its ecosystem.
The restoration will begin with removal of invasive species, especially wintercreeper and bush honeysuckle. These plants have overtaken the creek bed, crowding out the native plants essential to a healthy ecosystem. The wintercreeper is particularly entrenched: if not stopped, it will grow up the trees, eventually killing them.
The eradication, scheduled to begin in September, 2021, will be carried out by professional landscapers specializing in habitat restoration. Ultimately, the creek banks will be replanted with native trees, shrubs, grasses and flowering perennials.
Expect to see updated amenities including three new benches, new trash and recycling receptacles, an ADA-compliant picnic table, a sign naming the park, and a simple stone climbing structure for children.
The planter under the “Welcome to Roeland Park” sign on Johnson Drive will be filled with native perennials to attract pollinators. Near the planter, the Arts Committee has recently installed two sculptures. Made of river stone and steel, these “River Totems 1 & 2” symbolize the beauty of nature and, fittingly, remind us of our responsibility to sustain a healthy environment.
(photo by Judy Hyde)