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City saluted for addressing stormwater issues
Nolan Ming - press conference.jpg
Nolan Ming

McMinnville city government is being recognized for seeking unique solutions to stem stormwater runoff issues.

“When faced with a flooding issue that was negatively impacting a local school and neighborhood, McMinnville leadership decided to think outside the box to solve an infrastructure problem in a way that will connect education, flood mitigation, public recreation, and the city’s reputation as the Nursery Capital of the World,” said Tennessee Municipal League communications director Carole Graves. 

Tennessee Municipal League is recognizing the city of McMinnville for Excellence in Stormwater Management. 

The award was given specifically for the Bobby Ray Wetland Park Project, a partnership with the University of Tennessee. Its goal is to establish a park and wetland retention area in an effort to mitigate flooding. 

“Ongoing flooding in a field behind the Bobby Ray Memorial Elementary School was damaging local homes and infrastructure,” said Graves. “Rather than installing traditional pipes and concrete infrastructure to address the problem, city administrator Nolan Ming in conjunction with stormwater manager Lyndon Bussell, decided to take a modern, green infrastructure approach that has brought in local education leaders, the University of Tennessee, local businesses, and civic organizations to work with the city for the betterment of the entire community.”

A formal awards presentation will be made during a ceremony on Tuesday, Aug. 16 at Gatlinburg Convention Center.

Finding a unique way to soak up the rain began when Ming was the city’s Community Develop-ment Department director. Native plants will be used as a form of natural erosion control and stormwater management.

Stormwater drainage behind Bobby Ray Elementary in the area of Towles Avenue and Calvin Street has been a lingering issue. For more than a decade, residents have asked city officials to help with flooding, standing water, and an abundance of mosquitoes.

Planned is a walking path through the park so it can be used for educational purposes.

Graves said the city is also partnering with local FFA and 4H programs, the McMinnville Garden Club, scouting organizations, and the local Rotary and Exchange clubs to install plants and walkways in the park while the plants themselves will be donated from the local nurseries.