The Westchester County Center, a community center that hosts conferences, indoor athletic events, theatrical productions and trade shows, receives thousands of visitors each month. Many of them park in the center’s 9.8-acre parking lot on the opposite side of the Bronx River Parkway and Bronx River. So when the County decided to reconstruct the parking lot and needed to treat storm water runoff as part of the project per state and federal regulations, the decision was made to showcase a variety of storm water management practices at the lot.
The resulting storm water management park, all within the County-owned Bronx River Parkway Reservation, is a public educational resource that has been designed to demonstrate how and where storm water management practices can be used to control storm water pollution. The new parking lot is farther from the river than its predecessor, allowing a planted buffer to be established between it and the river. A new paved pedestrian path runs through the buffer, allowing people closer access to the river. The practices treat storm water runoff to improve water quality and absorb and store the water before it enters the river. They include grass swale medians, notches in curbs so storm water running off the parking lot can get into the swales, storm water ponds and wetlands with native plants, and porous pavement. Other practices include underground storm water storage and infiltration structures and specialized catch basins with embossed educational messages.
Arched bridges with rock veneer and culverts with stone headwalls were installed to carry pedestrians over the ponds and wetlands and maintain the ambiance of the 1920s Bronx River Parkway. Wooden lamp posts also recall the era when the Bronx River Parkway Reservation was first opened to the public. Educational signs will be installed at the site in 2012, after the segment of river running parallel to the parking lot is restored.
To View The Site: The site is directly opposite the Bronx River Parkway’s intersection (Exit 22) with NYS Route 119 (Tarrytown Road) and NYS Route 100 (Central Avenue), and bounded to the east by the Metro-North Commuter Railroad’s Harlem Line. It is located within the Bronx River Parkway Reservation at the Westchester County Center.