Showse Park is an 18.5-acre municipal park on the shore of Lake Erie in the City of Vermilion. Over time, the parking area and access road began to deteriorate, with failing asphalt compromising the park’s aesthetics, safety, and water quality. With the goal of protecting and improving Lake Erie, the City contracted with KS Associates to design a cost-effective, “green” solution.
To commence the project, KS Associates and the City collaborated with Erie County Soil and Water Conservation District on an application that resulted in an $80,828 grant from the Ohio EPA’s highly competitive Surface Water Improvement Fund (SWIF) Grants Program. The program provides funding for projects that address nonpoint source pollution of Ohio’s streams, rivers, and lakes.
KS Associates designed a solution to create an attractive parking area that also minimized the impacts of stormwater runoff. The focal point of the design was removing the parking area’s asphalt surface and replacing it with permeable pavement atop an aggregate reservoir. Similar in strength to traditional pavement, pervious materials differ by allowing water to soak through the surface instead of running off.
KS Associates specified an interlocking concrete paver section on top of a 24-inch aggregate reservoir. This approach promotes infiltration of stormwater runoff through the system to the subgrade, reducing surface water runoff while removing suspended solids and other contaminants. The new pervious pavement system is essentially a one-quarter-acre filter. Water that formerly made its way to Lake Erie virtually untreated now soaks into spaces between the pavers and percolates through the aggregate. Cleaner water either infiltrates into the subgrade, or flows through an underdrain to the City’s storm system. This system reduces the annual load of suspended solids, metals, and hydrocarbons in the captured runoff.
The pavers also buffer warm water temperatures and reduce the amount of erosion that was occurring along the lake-facing embankment.
The project has achieved the dual objectives of providing an attractive and functional parking lot while improving the quality of stormwater discharging to Lake Erie.