For the environmental engineers designing Unity Park, it’s what you won’t see that brings them the biggest sense of accomplishment.
Designers are creating a state-of-the-art drainage system to reduce floodwaters in the park and surrounding neighborhood. Instead of creating ponds to slow water flow into the river, engineers designed a system to encourage the water to infiltrate back into the original water table.
How? The short answer is soil.
To date, park construction has involved the replacement of existing soil with soil that contains a higher percentage of sand. Complementing this work will be a realignment of the riverbank and replacement of invasive tree species. A series of “benches” will also be added around the riverbank, creating more surface area for water flow during flood events.
The large parking area will play an important role as well. The City is constructing landscaped depressions filled with sandy soil and plants so that runoff will be filtered before reaching the river. Going forward, engineers would like to see the green infrastructure approach replicated citywide, as it reduces erosion, improves water quality and recharges the water table.