While construction activity in the retail areas of Drexel Town Square in the eastern section of the 85-acre site is visible from both Drexel and Howell avenues, there’s also evidence of progress on the western side where a 17-acre wetlands park is shaping up as well as work on Oak Creek’s new City Hall and library in the Town Square.
Decking has been placed on the boardwalks that traverse the wetland area.
The wetlands park encompasses 17 acres on the west side of the DTS development site. Eight of those acres are devoted to wetland with 9 acres devoted to upland plant communities of deciduous hardwood forest, tall and short prairie, and native shrubs.
Importantly, the wetlands area and its plantings are intended to provide wildlife habitat for many species including bees – “pollinators,” as well as the Monarch caterpillar which transforms into a beautiful butterfly. Bees and Monarchs have been declining in population in recent years for a variety of reasons including shrinking habitat (Monarchs) and disease (honey bees). The DTS wetland park will do its part to help address the problem.
The wetlands park area includes three storm water detention basins or ponds that will collect storm water runoff. These ponds are required by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) to compensate for the paved areas within the Drexel Town Square complex.
A wetland ecologist worked with engineers to design the hydraulically complex system that will manage the storm water to prevent adverse flooding of the planted areas.
The ponds, which will be 4 – 6 feet deep, are not stagnant however. As storm water and snow melt run-off is routed to one of ponds, the water is retained while particles settle. Water in the pond makes its way into the wetland area that serves as a sponge. The engineers designed the detention pond to buffer sudden changes to the wetland hydrology, to more closely mimic a more natural hydrology that will be beneficial to the native habitat.
Progress also can be seen on the construction of the new City Hall and library building which is located in the Town Square.
Brickwork is being added to the exterior of the Oak Creek City Hall and library.
Photo credit: City of Oak Creek
A look at the interior of the City Hall construction from the second level.