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Dennis Zurakowski Makes Greenwood Park Presentation to BEPA

Dennis Zurakowski Presents to BEPA

At left: Dennis and his wife Debbie Zurakowski. At right: Lisa Chaves, McWane EHS/HR Systems Administrator. (Photo taken by Tamara Wright, Amerex Corporation)

On October 2, 2015, over 80 members of the Birmingham Environmental Professionals’ Association (BEPA) met for breakfast to hear Dennis Zurakowski, McWane Group Environmental Compliance Director, discuss McWane’s development of Greenwood Park. In his presentation, titled “Integrated Storm Water Management and Recreation Area,” Dennis shared how McWane developed Greenwood Park as a multi-purpose recreational facility for the local community.

Dennis emphasized some of the challenges encountered during development of the park including shallow bedrock, old sewer lines associated with the former neighborhood, and the need to construct a restroom facility in a floodplain. Dennis also highlighted the complex storm water detention system used to capture the “first flush” from neighboring industrial areas during heavy rainfall events. The park, including its modern playground equipment and soccer fields, are enjoyed on a daily basis by the residents of the surrounding communities.

McWane was recognized in 2014 by the Cahaba River Society for their development of Greenwood Park.

Article courtesy of John Milledge, Action Environmental 

Celebrate Arbor Day by Paying a Visit to Greenwood Park

Now that spring is here and summer is approaching, it’s time to have fun in the sun! And what better way to do that than spending time at the park? With today being Arbor Day, it is the perfect time to get outside, enjoy some fresh air, and take sight of all the beautiful trees, plants, and other scenery around us!

In 2012, McWane celebrated the transformation of a once vacant, dusty lot into a dynamic green space for the residents of Birmingham, and Mother Nature, to enjoy. A long time in the planning, Greenwood Park is the culmination of a lot of dreams and dedication by the McWane Team. Where once stood a 34-acre tract of weeds, now lies a vibrant park that provides recreation and fun for the entire community.

At one time, the land held rows of single-family homes and apartment buildings, but because of constant flooding and noisy aircraft, the city relocated the community. Buildings were demolished and the area swiftly deteriorated. To McWane, this was the ideal location to create a beautiful park. Working closely with a wide coalition of groups, including the EPA, Birmingham’s Parks and Recreation Board, the Birmingham Airport Authority, the Federal Aviation Administration, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and several neighborhood groups, McWane left no stone unturned to build the best possible park for Birmingham. On November 17, 2012, city leaders, neighbors, and McWane representatives unveiled Greenwood Park with a ribbon cutting ceremony. It was the joyous culmination of months and years of planning, and work.

The park has all the right stuff: a playground, picnic shelter, two basketball courts, and a large field that can be used for baseball, football or soccer games. There are restrooms, parking spaces and a 3,600-foot-long walking trail that encourages visitors to pay attention to the park’s delicate ecology. Because we want Greenwood to represent the best qualities of McWane—durability, safety and respect for the environment, the park features an innovative bioremediation facility that naturally collects and filters contaminated rainwater before it enters Village Creek. Community leaders know the water quality isn’t all that has improved since Greenwood opened. Quality of life is improving too.

“They have the ball fields and the courts where they can play and they have the walking trails,” said Birmingham City Councilwoman Maxine Parker. “This will encourage our youth and seniors to get outdoors and be more active.”

The idea for Greenwood Park came after a settlement was reached in United States, et al. vs. McWane, Inc. McWane requested that a portion of any fine be redirected into the city of Birmingham through the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Supplemental Environmental Projects program. McWane worked with the Birmingham Community Advisory Panel, Clarus Consulting Group, and a group of volunteer citizens to come up with a list of potential park locations and how best to develop the park. It’s this commitment to team work and community that makes Greenwood such a success — and McWane is proud to be part of this process.