Long-awaited East Decatur Greenway has grand opening

The East Decatur Greenway tract, a one-acre blend of native plants, walking paths and a rain garden, gets a long-awaited grand opening, 2-4:30 p.m., April 23 at 890 Columbia Drive just outside of Decatur’s city limits.

This project dates to 2012 when East Decatur Greenway acquired a long-abandoned gas station that dated to the 1940s and, according to several long timers, once held Ku Klux Klan meetings in the 1950s and 1960s.

It took several years of preparing the site, including the removal of three 8,000-gallon underground storage tanks, leveling the old convenience store and dispenser island, removing 2,026.99 tons of contaminated soil and 1,500 gallons of contaminated water.

The green space includes a rain garden, a big pool of stone that deals with storm water runoff and contributes to purifying the soil.

Plants include: Black Willow, Tulip Poplar, Dwarf Wax Myrtle, Wax Myrtle, Cloud 9 Switchgrass, Heavy Metal Switchgrass, Sweetbay Magnolia, Sweetshrub, Inland Sea Oats, Peve Minaret Dwarf Bald Cypress, Swamp Sunflower, Blue Flag Iris, Liatris, Rising Sun Redbud, and Shi Shi Gashira Camellia.

East Decatur Greenway Director Michele Ritan said she eventually hopes to build a wildlife habitat, a pollinator garden and bird sanctuary.

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