The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday December 3rd

Towns restoring Bolin Creek

To his relatives and neighbors, Henry Baldwin was a man who gave everything.

Fitting the memory of his giving spirit, Chapel Hill and Carrboro celebrated the completion of a stream restoration project Saturday at the park that shares Baldwin’s name.

“Oh boy, if Uncle Henry knew about this he would just be turning around in his grave dancing,” Baldwin’s nephew Buddy said at the dedication.

After a 2007 study of the Bolin Creek watershed, the Clean Water Management Trust Fund identified the park as a prime site for restoration because of its proximity to the stream’s source.

Based on that recommendation, Chapel Hill and Carrboro secured grant money for the restoration project from the Environmental Protection Agency and the N.C. Division of Water Quality.

Chapel Hill Town Council member Donna Bell said the project includes a community garden that will serve the towns in a variety of ways just as Baldwin, an active community leader, did.

The garden will have more than 20 plant beds, about half of which will be open for local families to adopt. The remainder will be used to produce food to sell at the Carrboro Farmers’ Market.

Bell encouraged residents to attend the project’s April 16 work day to build the beds and put up deer fencing.

“If you have a favorite shovel you should probably bring it,” she said.

Stream ecologist and water quality specialist Trish D’Arconte said the restoration also includes a rain garden with a special filter for treating storm water to nourish the newly planted variety of native plants, grasses and flowers.

To limit the buildup of excess sediment that has recently piled up in the stream, D’Arconte said volunteers reconstructed the stream back to pre-erosion form and installed underground cement boulders to prevent future erosion.

“All that sediment smothers fish habitats and keeps other aquatic organisms from living,” she said.

Carrboro resident Gracie Webb lives behind Baldwin Park and said the stream had become a big concern.

“We were getting real worried that the creek was going to cause damage to the foundation of the house,” Webb said. “It had probably gotten to about four or five feet deep.”

The improved safety of her house isn’t the only thing Webb said she is excited about. She’s also ready to show off her green thumb.

“Before he passed, me and my husband were big gardeners,” she said. “We planted anything you can think of — tomatoes, collards, cabbage, string beans, butter beans, corn, everything.”

Webb and other local gardening enthusiasts were among those Bell spoke about at the dedication.

“This is a special thing because it brings out people like Mr. Baldwin to remind us that this wasn’t always a park, that this was a part of Chapel Hill’s history,” she said.

Contact the City Editor at city@dailytarheel.com.

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