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Some detours at Riverfront Park as maintenance begins

Workers are cleaning up the embankments at the park to stop future erosion.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — If you are a regular user of the Riverfront Park you may notice a few detours for the next three weeks. 

The city of Columbia is starting their annual vegetation clearing this week.  It will go from 4122 River Drive to 312 Laurel Street. 

Signage is up around the Riverfront Park and staff will be out notifying people as well. 

This is the north section of the park that divides Broad River from the canal.

The city's parks and recreation assistant superintendent said it should take about three week total to complete everything, weather permitting.

RELATED: Prisma Health, City of Columbia collaborate to improve and connect three riverfront greenways

Columbia residents that love and use this park everyday will have to reroute to the Saluda river walk or the south end of the park up to a limited point. 

"You could feel the love and affection that folks have. We have regulars, we get tons of out of town visitors. The views here are just phenomenal," said Karen Swank Kustafik, Columbia Parks and Recreation assistant superintendent.

This time of year is when the city steps in to maintain the park,  clearing out small trees up to six inches in diameter. 

RELATED: Portion of Riverfront Park reopened after debris clean-up

This is so their roots don't overgrow into the levy and create cracks that could cause it to eventually break down.

"When it's cut down you're able to keep an eye on it to see if there's a problem, to see how things are going and physically cutting like this is really important as opposed to just spraying it with herbicide. We are right next to the river, we're right next to our city's drinking water," Swank Kustafik said.

The city rents equiptment to grind up the small trees.

Only one machine is doing this work for both sides of the levy for about three miles.

"Right now it's a pretty good time of year to go ahead and cut, but if we were to try to do this work in the spring in the summer we'd have nesting birds, a full abundance of nectar plants and host plants for insects and butterflies and pollinators. We're part of a really thriving habitat," Swank Kustafik said.  

It's also a slower season for park visitors.

Maintenance; although inconvenient. means this outdoor gem can stay around longer.

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