Revitalizing Historic Downtown in a Flood Safe Way

David Duncan, PE, ENV SP, Stormwater Manager, Timmons Group

Alston Willard, EI, Project Engineer, Timmons Group

Timmons Group is providing drainage and environmental improvement services to reduce water/flooding impacts along a major waterway in Danville, VA. The Dan River is a 214 mile long and 3,300 square mile river basin in the Roanoke River Basin. The City of Danville straddles the river that spikes by ~10’ in a 100-year storm and can rise by over 4’ in an afternoon rain event. The City is revitalizing the historic downtown area with several projects to convert old industrial buildings to mixed use buildings including luxury apartments and a riverside park area. The original building and infrastructure in the area were built long before there were FEMA regulations or nutrient loading standards. In addition, a low water concrete dam that is no longer needed is being removed to improve safety and lower upstream floodwater levels in major storm events. The City recognized this as a potential location to create a vibrant downtown area that adheres to water quality standards while providing resiliency in reuse of existing infrastructure and improvements from a flood level perspective that also better uses the space by connecting citizens with the water that surrounds them. Timmons Group was able to work with the City and other firms to design multiple improvements on several connected projects in this area, custom fitting each to the available space and to work with site constraints while providing an overall benefit to its citizens and the historic downtown atmosphere.

Included are FEMA floodplains, floodways, stormwater quality analysis, and Virginia stormwater standards. A Riverfront amenity space along the water’s edge is included to help stabilize the bank, assist in a no-rise floodplain analysis condition, and provide access to the water. Working within a historic area, a regulated FEMA floodplain, and adhering to federal/state standards with several site constraints and budget will provide a case study for other situations in a city where revitalization may occur close to a major waterway.

This presentation will examine the challenges and benefits of revitalizing old infrastructure and underused sites to create safer, community friendly amenities while also causing minimal impact on valuable and historic resources.

Author Bio

David is a Stormwater Manager for Timmons Group. He enjoys supporting localities in their pursuit to improve the lives of their citizens while improving stormwater quantity and quality controls. David has managed flood studies, dam projects, and culvert sizing projects across varying geographic regions in Virginia and North Carolina. David has both a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Civil Engineering from Clemson University with a focus on sustainable and resilient infrastructure.

Alston is a stormwater engineer with experience in morphological field data collection and data analysis and processing for stream restoration projects. He has performed hydraulic calculations for flood study analysis and assisted in the design and construction drawings for neighborhood drainage improvements, flood reduction strategies, and stream restoration/stabilization projects. He has a Bachelor's degree in Biological and Agricultural Engineering from NC State.