CRBI Plans Burwell Creek Paddle for Saturday

Rome News-Tribune Article Jan. 18, 2013

This Saturday, Jan. 19, the Coosa River Basin Initiative will host a paddle into a proposed construction site—Rome’s Burwell Creek wetlands which are slated for development into a 60-acre shopping center.

Floodwaters on Wednesday spilled over into the wetlands and floodplain at Burwell Creek opening up acres of paddling through swamp-like scenery. Some portions of the property located along Riverside Parkway opposite Ridge Ferry Park are now under at least eight feet of water.

Paddlers will gather at the Burwell Creek parking area at Ridge Ferry Park at 10:30 a.m. CRBI will have a limited number of complimentary canoes and kayaks available.

Participants with their own boats are encouraged to bring them. To reserve a canoe or kayak, call CRBI at 706-232-2724 or e-mail Joe Cook at 

More information can be found at

“The purpose of this trip is to give people a chance to explore a wetland doing what wetlands do best—that’s holding floodwater,” said Joe Cook, CRBI Executive Director and Riverkeeper. “These wetlands mitigate the impacts of floods by storing water, help filter pollutants and provide habitat for hundreds of creatures big and small. If we fill them in to build shopping centers, we increase the likelihood of severe floods and property damage elsewhere.”

In 2012, after several years of advocacy efforts by CRBI, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) suspended a permit issued to Ledbetter Properties of Rome to develop the property. CRBI contended the permit was issued improperly in 2008 and since then Ledbetter Properties had significantly changed its construction plans, rendering their permit invalid.

Ledbetter Properties is currently developing new site plans for its Citi Center project and plans to submit a new permit application to the Corps. In recent weeks, CRBI has met with city commissioners and city staff as well as Ledbetter Properties urging them to create a development plan that preserves wetlands on the property as well as natural corridors along Burwell Creek that would connect historic Jackson Hill with Ridge Ferry Park.

“Right now, close to 80 percent of the land that would become a shopping center is now underwater,” Cook said. “When the floodwaters rise, it becomes obvious that this is not the best place to plop a shopping center.”

During the paddle trip, CRBI will point out where stores and parking areas would be sited based Ledbetter Properties most recent site plans.

Read more: - CRBI plans Burwell Creek floodplain paddle for Saturday 

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