Churchill Downs Park Stormwater Basin

Churchill Downs Project


The City of Ann Arbor petitioned the Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner (WCWRC) to undertake a project to design and construct stormwater management control measures for the Churchill Park Pond adjacent to the Churchill Downs Subdivision. The Malletts Creek Drainage District is an established Chapter 20 County Drain and falls under the jurisdChurchillDowns-Floodingiction of the WCWRC.

"Nearly 36% of the land in the Malletts Creek creekshed that drains to the Huron River and its tributaries is impervious, and as a result, stormwater frequently enters the river too quickly, causing localized and regional flooding during certain rain events. These rain events also carry pollutants from impervious areas to the creek, lowering water quality. The proposed improvements to the stormwater system will reduce the amount of stormwater entering the City's stormwater piping network and reduce contaminant loading to the downstream creeks and the Huron River. The City is subject to a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) restriction by the State of Michigan for biota (total suspended solids), E. coli and phosphorus. The proposed improvements will improve water quality and reduce localized flooding in the project areas." (Excerpt from the City's Resolution

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Project Updates

September 20, 2022- Project Update (email)

  • Most of the grading is completed, except where equipment traffic is still required. 
  • The new creek is accepting water and the old ditch is gone. 
  • Seeding has begun and will be continuing over the coming days. You will likely see only temporary annual grasses this year. Native seeds will germinate slowly throughout 2023; some will rest for a year and pop up in 2024. Trees and shrubs will be going in soon after the seeding is complete. 
  • The new pathway and fence connecting the park to Scio Church Road is being put together now.
  •  The outlet structure should be arriving on Monday mid-day if there are no delays. 
  • With luck, good weather, and no further material delays, we should be done soon. It’s safer to say we’ll be done sometime before Dec 1, but we’re hoping to be out closer to the middle of October.

July 6, 2022 - Project Update (email)

What is Happening Now

  • Excavation is moving along. I expect they’ll wrap up digging the hole in the coming 2 weeks, plus or minus.
  • The playground has been left undisturbed. They also hope to leave the basketball court untouched. 
  • Two more trees will have to come down.  Also, there are two pines in the grassy area north of the playground that are in rough shape. These trees may not have much longevity, but we plan to work around them. 

What is Next

  • Stormwater infrastructure installation: storm pipes and structures (manholes). This work will be close to Scio Church Road close to the highway in the far NW corner of the park. Traffic shouldn’t be affected. 
  • Start building the new channel and floodplain bench. This will be followed by topsoil installation, seeding, and planting. 
  • Unfortunately, the box culverts won’t be ready until September. The box culverts will be located under the path from Steeplechase to the playground. 
  • This delay has changed the order of operations. The box culverts will be installed from the Steeplechase side instead of from the inside of the park. This means we will be closing off a small section of Steeplechase and moving the crane onto to the asphalt to install the box culverts. Driveway access will be maintained for those residents affected. 

January 25, 2022 - Public Meeting

Watch a recording of the January 25th public meeting here. 

January 7, 2022 - Project Update (email)

  • EGLE (formerly the DEQ) has received everything they need to issue a permit. It is still in draft form but I expect to have the final version in hand promptly.
  • We are pulling together the final design elements and coordinating with the reconstruction of Scio Church Road (City of Ann Arbor). We’re at, let’s say, 90%. 
  • We’ll have a information session on Zoom on Jan 25 at 6:30PM. Find additional information and a link to the meeting in the Calendar Event.  
  • We’ll send out postcard invites to the neighborhood, post on NextDoor and send individual letters to adjacent property owners. If you know of someone who live adjacent to the construction please pass word of the meeting along to them. 

September 17, 2021 - Project Update (email)  

  • Permit draft received – Working with EGLE (MI Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy) for issuance
  • Design can now be finalized, incorporating changes/requirements identified in the permit
  • Project costs increased due to permit requirements/changes – reviewing the potential to utilize American Rescue Plan funding to finance this project rather than paying for it directly from the stormwater utility
  • Project out for bid by end of 2021 (estimated)  
  • Spring 2022 construction possible, pending receipt of reasonable bids.  More information on the schedule will be provided when available.
  • Scio Church road project is similarly delayed until next spring – may overlap with this project

NEXT:  Public Meeting to be scheduled (end of 2021) to go over the design, impacts on park use during construction and post-construction.  An e-mail notice will be sent with details of the meeting.  Please contact Harry Sheehan, Chief Deputy Water Resources Commissioner Email Harry Sheehan or call 734-222-6851 with any questions or to be added to the email list for this project.  

March 4, 2021 - Project Update Virtual Meetings - 12 pm & 7 pm

Virtual update meetings on this project will be held on March 4th at 12 noon and 7 pm. Please join us at either time. Both meetings will provide the same information:  Background, Current design,  Plans for the playground and other park amenities, Timelines, and Challenges ahead to bring this project to fruition.  Please contact Harry Sheehan, Chief Deputy Water Resources Commissioner Email Harry Sheehan or call 734-222-6851 with any questions.  Additional information is available on the City of Ann Arbor website:

Conceptual Design

ChurchillDowns-Concept Opens in new window

Upper Malletts Creek Stormwater Conveyance Study

This study outlines this project as part of the recommended solutions to reduce the severity and probability of future surface flooding in the Upper Malletts Creek watershed.  

September 24, 2020 - Walkthrough

A walkthrough of the 2021 construction project (with physical distancing) was held on Thursday, Sept 24th at 5:30 pm.

August 12, 2020 - Public Meeting

The Churchill Downs stormwater basin meeting was an online meeting.  Together with the project engineer, the background, conceptual design, schedule, and construction activity were reviewed along with a question & answer session.  

Noise Study

"To improve drainage and reduce flooding, the construction of a stormwater detention pond has been proposed on the Eisenhower Park property, located in the southeast quadrant of the Scio Church Rd / I-94 overpass in Ann Arbor, MI. To accommodate this construction, a large portion of the wooded area in the park will need to cleared and the area will need to be regraded. The goal of the  Interim Noise Study is twofold. (i) To evaluate several pond configurations to determine how the proposed changes will affect acoustic environment. (ii) To explore the potential for future noise abatement. This report summarizes the data that has been collected and the preliminary analysis that has been completed in the course of the study."


Please contact Harry Sheehan, Chief Deputy Water Resources Commissioner 
Email Harry Sheehan or call 734-222-6851