As more development takes place in downtown Greenwood, city officials are looking at ways to make sure that added asphalt on parking lots and streets doesn’t lead to increased flooding and that roads are safe for drivers and pedestrians.

A new road and parking lot planned in downtown Greenwood will feature specific designs intended to ensure water runoff drains slowly, and a hill near an intersection will be lowered to increase visibility for drivers and pedestrians.

A road connecting Surina Way and Madison Avenue will have bioswales, or stormwater pipes underneath a layer of dirt, mulch and plants intended to naturally absorb water. A public parking lot west of the Greenwood Public library will have sections of permeable pavement, which lets water pass through to be absorbed in the ground. A new parking lot to be built at the southeast corner of Surina Way and Meridian Street will have underground water storage containers, which will collect and slowly disperse water during periods of heavy rainfall.

With how much land is already paved in downtown Greenwood through streets, parking lots and trails and future development that is planned, managing water run-off in ways other than just piping it elsewhere is of increased importance, Greenwood Capital Projects Manager Kevin Steinmetz said. The new bioswales, which function similarly to a rain garden, should help collect a majority of the water that runs off the connector road, preventing it from going into nearby Pleasant Creek, Steinmetz said.

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“A pipe doesn’t keep water where it is; it just moves the water problem somewhere else,” Steinmetz said.

The goal is to not put any more water into Pleasant Creek than necessary, because of the issues that the creek already has with flooding, he said.

Earlier this year, the city announced plans for a series of projects including reconstruction of Madison Avenue, improvements to Old City Park and the connector road between Market Plaza and Surina Way. The city, which purchased the former Greenwood Middle School on Madison Avenue, plans to demolish the building and have the site used for the development of condos, offices, restaurants, shops and businesses.

In March, the Greenwood Redevelopment Commission approved spending $148,000 to begin creating designs for the construction of the connector road, intended to serve as a replacement for Machledt Drive, which the city plans to turn into a trail as part of planned improvements to Old City Park. The total cost of the project has been estimated at $2.2 million, Steinmetz said.

The road will reduce the number of spaces in an existing public parking lot west of the Greenwood Public Library from about 80 to 62. Initial plans had called for the number of spaces to drop to 49 to accommodate the construction of the road, but the number of spaces was increased after library officials were concerned about having enough parking, Steinmetz said.

The work to reconfigure the parking lot will also include adding portions of permeable paving, which allow water to flow through the pavement to be absorbed into the ground, he said.

A new parking lot planned at the southeast corner of Surina Way and Meridian Street as a joint project with Our Lady of the Greenwood Catholic Church will have an underground water storage system capable of holding 42,000 cubic feet of water. During periods of heavy rain, water will be collected into this system and be released slowly into the stormwater system, helping to prevent overflows, Steinmetz said.

The city and church agreed to split the cost of building and maintaining the 178-space parking lot. The church will pay $400,000 to purchase and demolish two homes, as well as perform landscaping work. The redevelopment commission will pay about $500,000 to build the parking lot. The parking lot will be available to the public except during church services and events.

Along with construction of the parking lot, the city plans to make changes to the elevation of the road and a nearby hill at the intersection of Surina Way and Meridian Street, Steinmetz said. The city had previously hired a consultant to study the intersection, who told them that the changes to the elevation at the site would make it safer, he said.

The project, which will make the intersection safer for drivers and pedestrians by letting them see further along Meridian Street, will cost about $500,000, with much of the cost coming from the expenses from moving utilities, he said.

The redevelopment commission is planning to pay the full cost of all three projects from tax increment financing, or TIF district, funds, which set aside money from property taxes paid by certain businesses in specific sections of the city. The stormwater board may also contribute funding, given the stormwater collection aspects of the projects, Steinmetz said.

Work on the projects will go east to west, with the parking lot construction and elevation improvements to the Meridian Street and Surina Way intersection beginning as soon as weather allows in the spring, Steinmetz said.

The goal is to have the parking lot completed prior to the city’s downtown summer festivals, he said.

At a glance

The Greenwood Redevelopment Commission is planning a trio of projects in downtown Greenwood, with work set to begin next spring. Here is a look at what is planed:

Surina Way and Market Plaza connector road

What: A new road planned south of the Greenwood Public Library that would connect Market Plaza and Surina Way and serve as a replacement for Machledt Drive, which will be turned into a trail.

Estimated cost: $2.2 million

Parking lot

What: A 178-space parking lot that is a joint project between the city and Our Lady of the Greenwood Catholic Church at the southeast side of Meridian Street and Surina Way

Cost: $900,000

Elevation changes to the Surina Way and Meridian Street intersection

What: Lowering a hill at the southeast side of the intersection to increase visibility for drivers and pedestrians on Surina Way.

Estimated cost: $500,000

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Jacob Tellers is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at or 317-736-2702.