Earlier this month, the Local Government Advisory Committee (LGAC) was treated to a local gem nestled in Frederick, Maryland. Located within its downtown sector, Carroll Creek Linear Park is home to the Color on the Creek community waterway project that flows a quarter mile. It initially was part of a flood control plan built in the 1970s, however, due to the stagnant waters, eventually became a hub for invasive species including algae bloom and carp. In the fall of 2012, the non-profit, Color on the Creek, was established to enhance the water quality of the creek and ensure revitalization of not only Carroll Creek Linear Park but of the entire downtown area!

LGAC was introduced to Color on the Creek by its Executive Director, Dr. Peter Kremers, who is the mastermind behind the non-profit. Dr. Kremers explained that the creek had been home to a growing algae population which completely overtook the water supply. The algae bloom shaded the creek floor from light, which lead to oxygen deprivation amongst much of the aquatic habitat, reduced water clarity, and the creation of unpleasant decayed vegetation at its surface. It took 1,000+ volunteers, and 2,000+ hours worth of labor to construct what is pictured above.

After removing the algae and other invasive species from the waterway, volunteers began constructing the water garden by installing submerged metal planter “pots” that were intended to support and control plant growth. Once the planters were established, various colorful varieties such as lilies, lily pads, irises and lotuses were introduced to the stream. These vivid flowers are not only pleasing to the eye, but provide much needed temperature regulation to the creek’s waters. While these varieties blossom and thrive amongst the warmer months, during the cold season they are transferred to a local greenhouse off-site. This does not mean that Carroll Creek Linear Park is completely barren however.

Visiting in December, LGAC was just in time to see Color on the Creek’s winter event, “Sailing through the Winter Solstice,” which transforms the waterway into a glowing sailboat sanctuary. Local vendors, organizations, and community members gather each year to create hand-made sailboats and design them according to what they wish to represent. Even major supporters to Color on the Creek such as “The Wine Kitchen” and “BB&T Bank” support this popularized event with their own boats.

Dr. Kremers was very excited to share the sailboat affectionately named “Starry Night,” which is an adaptation of the famed “Starry Night” painting created by artist, Vincent van Gogh. Made in 2018, a small group, including Kremers, constructed the sails of lights and chicken wire. Other than being inspired by the timeless painting, the “Starry Night” sailboat also mimics Frederick’s city logo portraying the city’s 4 major churches at the base of the sail. The structure was built by an artist friend of Dr. Kremers who constructed it in one weekend.

The downtown sector of Frederick has seen an influx of foot traffic since the participation of Color on the Creek at Carroll Creek Linear Park. The introduction of local events such as “Sailing through the Winter Solstice” has also helped in promoting local businesses. LGAC was thrilled to have explored the creek and seen how much this project has encouraged Frederick’s community to support locally and more importantly, work and engage with one another.

For more information on the Color on the Creek, please visit the website their website.