From left, Design Project Manager Nikki Preston and Ben Burmester, assistant director of Design Services, are spearheading Phase III of the Parkerson Mill Greenway project.
This map of the Parkerson Mill Creek Greenway Project illustrates where the phase III section will be located.
Phase III of the Parkerson Mill Creek Greenway project will begin in early 2024, extending the path from Lem Morrison Drive to the pond behind the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Funded through a $1.2 million grant from the state of Alabama Department of Transportation and Facilities Management funds, the construction will extend the greenway an additional 0.4 miles and allow for more opportunities for path expansion at the southern portion of campus.
“This phase of the Parkerson Mill Creek Greenway is a part of hopefully many future phases,” said Ben Burmester, assistant director of Design Services. “While this phase takes it to a logical stopping point at the VCOM pond, it also sets up further extensions to the south toward Auburn Research Park as the next destination. Long-term the trail could be extended all the way to Chewacla State Park.
“This would not be possible without the support and funding provided through the Alabama Department of Transportation. We are thankful they viewed this project as a great candidate for transportation funding as it will be used not just by campus but the full community.”
Burmester worked with Design Project Manager Nikki Preston to secure funding from the state for the Greenway project.
The greenway will be about one mile long at the end of Phase III, beginning at Biggio Drive. Construction will also include lighting and a new pedestrian bridge crossing the creek.
Parkerson Mill Creek, as the campus’ 9.2-mile watershed, is part of the Chewacla Watershed and the Lower Tallapoosa River Basin. Through decades of campus growth and the urbanization of the area, the creek has faced water quality issues, erosion, pathogen impairment and more.
The combined efforts of Auburn University, the city of Auburn and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System have led to increased protection and restoration of the watershed to realize it’s designated use for fish and wildlife while educating the campus and community about its many purposes.
Along with allowing another way around campus, the greenway acts as a showcase for the waterway and highlights the importance it plays for Auburn’s biodiversity, turning a neglected waterway into a thriving display of environmental stewardship.
“Parkerson Mill Creek is the campus’s most valuable natural resource. By bringing people and activity towards the creek, I am hopeful the campus embraces the importance of Parkerson Mill Creek to the campus and region,” Burmester said.