Willowbrook Arboretum


Excitement is growing as the City of Burlington and the New Leaf Society partner together to remake Willowbrook Park into Willowbrook Arboretum!

Follow links below for more information on the transformation of this park!

Follow Along with New Leaf Society

new leaf



JasonA big hello and welcome to the City’s new hire, Horticultural Specialist Jason Barnhill. Jason’s primary focus will be to oversee and maintain all the plantings in the Arboretum. While most of the plantings will wait until construction is completed on the pathways and the Arboretum commons, Jason is already starting some minor projects out of the way of construction traffic.

jason and amy

Jason gave some pruning lessons to the City’s Stormwater Manager, Amy Cameron. Amy deals with riparian buffer rules and regulations and has been very involved with the stream restoration in the park. Amy showed Jason some of the native sedges and rushes that were seeded in the challenging, rain-drenched 2018-2019 season that now have really begun to get established. Jason taught Amy to prune one of the river birches also planted during the stream restoration. As the trees planted in the riparian buffer grow, they will be trimmed up to provide a clear sight line. Eventually, the trees will have roughly six feet of bare trunk and people will be able to see across and down into the creek fairly clearly in most places.

parth progress

Construction on the pathways has made it to the gazebo!

commons progress

And the concrete has set for the Arboretum Commons Building.


Construction is moving along for the Burlington Arboretum. The pathways are being graded and paved, the wooden bridge was placed last week, and crews are preparing to break ground for the construction of the Arboretum Commons Building.





Two Bridges have been placed in the park and pathways are still being laid. 





There’s a lot going on in Willowbrook Park right now. Crews are making progress on the bridge abutment closest to Church St. Eventually it will lead from the Arboretum Commons Building on the East Willowbrook side across Brown Branch Creek to the Veterans Overlook Plaza.

AButment 4

Abutment 1

Abutment 2

Abutment 3

Repair work to the stream restoration efforts are complete. Burlap netting has been laid in problem areas all along the park. These areas have also been reseeded.

restoration repair

Construction has also begun on the park walkways. Crews have started grading a curving path from Front St. to West Davis St.  This week’s rains will cause a day or two delay on that section, but they’ll soon be back in action building paths starting at Front St. and working their way down to Church St.

Front St. Path


Construction has begun bridge abutments for three new bridges. 


Southern Tree Service, the tree removal contractor, is onsite removing dead or damaged trees, grinding stumps, and pruning limbs as needed.

The Arboretum Commons Building with revised design goes out for construction bids in the next few weeks.

The maintenance program for streamside vegetation to assist stream bank stabilization and to suppress invasive plants is ongoing.


In celebration of Arbor Day, The Burlington Women’s Club donated  and planted a Chinese Pistache Tree.  


Burlington City Council will hold a Public Hearing at 7PM on Tuesday, April 2 at the Municipal Building at 425 S. Lexington Ave. to solicit feedback regarding a proposed change in scope of the Arboretum Commons Building at the Arboretum at Willowbrook Park. Due to the rising cost of construction, it is necessary to reduce the scope of the facility from restrooms and a multipurpose room, to restrooms and an open air pavilion in order to meet budget constraints. The City Council invites neighbors, community members, and interested parties to speak to the scope change during this public hearing. To view the planned revision to the Arboretum Commons Building click here.


Three hundred trees were planted along the creek as part of the streambank restoration.


Beginning as soon as the week of May 2 the public will begin to see equipment and activity in the park as Carolina Environmental Contracting, Inc. begins to prepare the project site, perform field surveying, and install erosion and sedimentation control measures.Following the site preparation tree cutting, clearing of work area, grading and streambank restoration measures will begin.


City Council approved a contract with Carolina Environmental Contracting for stream bank restoration of Brown Branch (a.k.a. Willowbrook Creek). Construction work is anticipated to begin in early April. Stay tuned for timelines and construction updates as they become available. 


The existing playground and swings at Willowbrook will be removed during the week of March 5, 2018.


Preparations for the Arboretum project have begun. At the January 16, 2018 City Council meeting, a contract was awarded to Breece Enterprises to remove and replace a portion of the sanitary sewer that runs through Willowbrook Park. This sewer replacement will help prepare the site for the arboretum project. The sewer replacement is expected to be completed by mid-March, weather permitting.

Revised Plan for the Arboretum Commons Building

Arboretum Commons Building Scope Change Concept_4-2-19

Stream Restoration & Riparian Update

The first phase of the Willowbrook Arboretum project was a stream restoration. Watch the videos below to learn more about why this process was necessary and what it entailed. 

Arboretum Design

View Related Documents

Willowbrook Park Design Package (2/7/18)