St. Paul, VA: Managing Stormwater in Market Square

St. Paul is a small, but vibrant town, with a rich history in southwestern Virginia. Situated along the Clinch River, an ecological and scenic treasure, and holding land in both Russell and Wise Counties, it is strategically located and poised to serve as a gateway to the region’s natural assets. Community groups seek to make improvements aimed to enhance the town. They have spearheaded several economic development, revitalization and stormwater management projects. Their collective vision is to become a model downtown district, known for an environmentally-conscious, aesthetic, and vibrant, campus-like atmosphere.

One of the St. Paul’s biggest natural and ecological assets is the Clinch River, which is internationally renowned for its biological diversity. In 2002, 9.2 miles of the Clinch River was designated Scenic from Route 58 in St. Paul to the confluence with Guest River. St. Paul seeks to make the Clinch River and other complimentary assets (existing trail systems, Wetland Estonoa, etc.) a “primary focus for a new creative economy dealing with tourism.”*

Currently, stormwater runoff from the urban, impervious surfaces bring contaminates and large volumes of water into the Clinch River. These impurities and storm surges are detrimental to a rare species of mussels and adversely affect sensitive wildlife in the watercourse and riparian corridor. Stormwater contaminate and runoff issues are a product of a system of natural and man-made elements, such as contaminants from business and industrial uses. St. Paul understands this and seeks ways to solve stormwater runoff issues by implementing design solutions closest to the source of precipitation.

CDAC worked with project stakeholders to develop conceptual design concepts to:
1. help reduce stormwater runoff issues (volume and amount of contaminants) within and immediately surrounding the Farmers Market block area
2. improve the function, safety, and aesthetics of the Farmers Market block area to guide future redevelopment.

A conceptual master plan was developed for the market block considering the following areas: sidewalks; entrances and exits of the alley; parking around the perimeter of the block as well as parking on the opposite side of Broad Street; and the Clinch River Farmers Market site. The CDAC team also focused on specific areas within the block that may need further design development, which are referred to as “focus area designs”.


Project team: Melissa Philen, Austin Chase, Patricia Stroud, Andrea Thomas, Daphne Williams, Aline Soares de Souza, Mike Stelfox, and Amelia Hulshult.

* Taken from project application

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