CINCINNATI — It might look like a new river runs through South Fairmount, but it's more like a bio-engineered stream. It's already improving the quality of water and quality of life along Queen City and Westwood Avenues.
The Lick Run Greenway is nearly complete and the area is already seeing the difference with a much cleaner Mill Creek.
A few years ago it was a strip of land with old homes and businesses that divided Queen City and Westwood Avenues. Now there's a synergy that brings the whole area together.
If you didn't know, the Lick Run Greenway is a re-imagined sewer system that separates and carries excess storm water to the Mill Creek. It's the answer to a combined sewer system that was dumping hundreds of gallons of untreated wastewater into the Mill Creek.
Now the Metropolitan Sewer District calls this 103-million dollar project a transformational project and a national model.
MSD was under a consent decree to come up with a plan that would relieve those high sewer overflows.
MSD director Diana Christy said they wanted to do more than just build a separate underground sewer line.
"Turned this back into more of a natural state that it once was over 100 years ago where you had a stream in this area, but it wasn't always flowing. It was dry sometimes but during rain events you would have a flowing stream,” Christy said.
Because the area has seen a lot of rain lately, the water level will be near street-level as it flows between Westwood and Queen City to a large pond and then into the Mill Creek.
MSD said the Mill Creek is already becoming cleaner as it has attracted nine new species of fish.
There are plans to do some traffic calming on Westwood and Queen City Avenues. The speed limit is 35 miles an hour and many drivers go much faster than that. The Cincinnati Department of Transportation and Engineering said they will work on that issue.
The official grand opening is set for May 18.