BROOKLYN - The effort to clean up the Gowanus Canal and the surrounding area is gaining momentum, and a local woman is spearheading an effort to create a so-called "sponge park."

Susannah Drake has been working to get the murky, trash-filled canal cleaned up for the past six years. She is leading an architectural team that's pioneering a sponge park to beautify the area and clean it up as well.

Drake says the innovative 1,800-square-foot green space on the west side of the canal would prevent stormwater from flooding the area.

"It's absorbing the water and i'ts cleaning the water, and it's taking it away from a place where its actually accessible to people," Drake says.

The park is expected to be open by spring of 2015. Meanwhile, other improvements are in the works to purify the canal's water.