Storm drain forces removal of Clark Park waterfall

The outlet from a 4-foot-diameter storm drain replaces the waterfall that graced the north end of Clark Park at Prairie St. The pond was filled in and lined with concrete rip-rap. Photo by Rob Ball.

By Jef Rietsma

The demise of the waterfall at the north end of Clark Park was disclosed to Vicksburg village officials more than 18 months ago when plans for the current infrastructure project were being put together.

The flow ended in recent weeks when a pipe from a pond fed from nearby Sunset Lake was closed. Reopened, it continues to carry water from the pond, but it comes from the mouth of a 48-inch storm drain opening into the park.

Village Manager Jim Mallery said he understands sentimental attachment to the waterfall. “The pipe that came out of there was 18 inches. Now it’s 48 inches and rests 3 1/2 feet lower than the pipe that was there. So there goes the waterfall without that 3 1/2-foot elevation drop,” Mallery said. “The creek bed, up to the bridge, will be lined with large rocks they call rip-rap. They extend maybe 15 or 20 yards, but all the (rocks) that are down on North Main Street will be brought down to line the stream.”

Mallery said as crews continue with the downtown infrastructure project, they will eventually construct a wall above what will be a south-flowing stream in place of the waterfall.

Under normal circumstances, he said, the flow of the water will remain the same as it was previously. Mallery did note periods of exception.

“The flow of water from the pond between Vickers and Apple Knockers will be the same. But historically, the downtown has not had a storm-drainage system. So now, in the collection of the stormwater in the downtown area, that will flow out into that creek,” Mallery said. “During times of rain, the flow will increase.”

Mallery said he was surprised when he found out the waterfall would be removed but repeated that there wasn’t a lot the village could do to save it. Furthermore, there are some benefits to the reconfigured drainage system.

“To the people who felt a connection to the waterfall, I am sorry.” But, he added, the state Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy and the project engineers “aren’t going to put a waterfall back. On the upside, it will be lined appropriately, it’ll flow appropriately. We’re putting drainage in the park so hopefully that keeps the park dryer than it historically has been underneath the overhang, and there’ll be a wall constructed that will look a lot better than it did before.”

Stormwater will flow through a device which removes debris before reaching the creek.

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