City Council approves daylighting creek on Northside
Butterfly Branch to become integral part of Northside redevelopment
Another important piece of the Northside Initiative moved forward on Monday as City Council gave their approval to a plan to daylight Butterfly Branch, a spring-fed stream that has been piped underground through the neighborhood for decades. Voting 6-0 (Council member Sterling Anderson was absent on vacation), Council gave Staff the go ahead to purchase the property necessary to complete the project, which will include purchasing 22 parcels of land and relocating some residents.
The design is intended to return to the stream to its natural condition and will include a mix of native plants. The City would not be allowed to construct improvements (trails, benches, lighting, public art, etc.) inside the buffer but could construct those improvements immediately adjacent to the buffer. Airport project funds cannot be used to construct park/trail features. However, Staff is optimistic that those funds can be identified as the Northside project moves forward. The day lighted stream and liner park/trail would provide direct connectivity from VCOM to the proposed site of the new TK Gregg Center, currently the location for Oakview Apartments.
City Manager Ed Memmott said that 90 percent of funding for the project would come from the Federal Aviation Administration as part of a plan to extend the runway at the Downtown Memorial Airport with the City responsible for five percent and the State covering the other five percent. FAA funding is available for the project because the runway extension will require a creek to be piped and covered. Federal wetlands protection regulations require the City to mitigate the impact to this stream by purchase of mitigation credits or by the construction of a qualifying offsite stream protection project. Daylighting Butterfly Branch allows the City to meet the Federal requirements while keeping resources in Spartanburg. The project would require approval from the Army Corps of Engineers.
For more on last night's City Council meeting, see the full video as well as a roundup of our live tweets from the meeting below.