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Stormwater Vault Replacement & New Parking Lot Under Construction Near Old Banner Elk School

The Town of Banner Elk approved a stormwater vault replacement project that also includes the construction of a parking lot near the historic Banner Elk Elementary School. 

By Jesse Wood

A stormwater vault project and new parking lot is currently under construction in downtown Banner Elk. The project was approved in March and is expected to be complete in June.

Town Manager Rick Owen said the stormwater vault that catches all of the runoff from the main roads has “reached the end of its useful life.” The vault is located behind the fire department and near the historic elementary school.

“It was filled with sediment washed from the roads,” Owen said, noting that a new public parking lot will be built on top of the vault once the vault is replaced.

In 2015, Banner Elk received a $95,000 grant from the N.C. Division of Water Resources to “help the Town of Banner Elk retrofit an existing undersized bioretention wetland area that treats stormwater runoff flowing into Shawneehaw Creek.”

The Banner Elk Town Council recently gave the go-ahead to start the project in March.

The town agreed to fund $55,000 toward this matching-grant project and hired Derek Goddard with the Blue Ridge Environmental Consultants, who wrote the grant, to proceed with the design plans, according to meeting minutes.

At that March meeting, council discussed a potential road interconnection between the fire department, school and adjoining Culver Road. The area is wide enough for two-way traffic and design plans include a curb-and-gutter section and sidewalk.

Owen noted that while the road is labeled in the design plans, road construction isn’t part of the stormwater vault project currently underway. The town must still approach a nearby property owner regarding a potential easement or deed before proceeding with any road construction.

The two photos below were taken on Monday, while the photos above were taken a week or so ago.