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Park to soak up grime - Greenery would help clean up the Gowanus

Yes, the Gowanus Canal is sponge worthy.

Sponge Park, that is.

Plans for a new five-acre park along the notoriously contaminated waterway were officially unveiled Monday by the nonprofit Gowanus Canal Conservancy.

The sponge is simply a metaphor.

Lush greenery would act as natural filters to sop up pollutants lurking in and around the canal.

The green space would also suck up sewer overflows that give the canal its trademark odor.

“If you allow plants to manage the surface water, they soak up the toxins and they do manage the smells,” said Susannah Drake, principal at Clinton Street-based dLandstudio, the firm responsible for the design.

Drake said she sees the canal as a diamond in the rough.

“The Gowanus is a beautiful water body in spite of the toxic issues,” she told the crowd gathered inside P.S. 58 in Carroll Gardens.

The project, if it succeeds, could be expanded to include a wider area than the canal alone, Drake said.

She said that the plan, which seeks to divert rainwater before it gets a chance to enter local sewers

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