Churchill Downs Park Stormwater Basin Update July 6 2022

Jul 7, 2022 | Ward 4 News

The following was emailed July 6, 2022 by Harry Sheehan, Chief Deputy of Washtenaw County Water Resources.

What is Happening Now
Excavation is moving along, thanks to dry weather, an efficient contractor, and available trucks. I expect they’ll wrap up digging the hole in the coming 2 weeks, plus or minus. I appreciate your patience with the work and all the disturbance it creates.

The playground has been left undisturbed. That shouldn’t change since the contractor is planning on working around it. They also hope to leave the basketball court untouched.

Two more trees will have to come down. The others will likely remain but that is not yet certain. We’ll do our best. 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). We’ll includes work around a large water main. 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. After that, we’ll 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. This is a supply chain issue that we can’t control. These concrete structures are custom-made for the project. They will house the outlet control structure – the device that manages flow & water levels during a storm (see example attached). The box culverts will be located under the path from Steeplechase to the playground.

This delay has changed the order of operations. Instead of installing the box culverts from within the park, then completing the basin last; the basin will be fully built, then the box culverts will go in last. For this to happen, 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 Steeplechase and moving the crane onto to the asphalt to install the box culverts. Driveway access will be maintained for those residents affected. There will be more details about timing, duration and specifics when we get to that.

Other Updates
If you’ve driven on Scio Church Road, you’ll know that it is overdue for replacement. That is planned for a late summer start. The pavement near the project entrance is bumpy and the lane shift is in a particularly bumpy stretch. We have filled potholes once and will monitor, but there’s not a lot that can be done to improve things.

I have a folder with photos of the work so you can get a better picture of what it looks like up close.

Lastly, I would be happy to do a walking tour of the project. If you have interest in this, let me know and I’ll set up a time.

If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know.

Harry Sheehan
Chief Deputy of Washtenaw County Water Resources

For more information, this is the City page for Churchill Downs park:

This is the Washtenaw County’s website page with more information about the stormwater basin project :

For questions, please contact Harry Sheehan, Chief Deputy Water Resources Commissioner for Washtenaw County (

I previously posted about this project:

Churchill Downs Ann Arbor stormwater basic concept plan Sept 2020