Seeing is Believing: The Value of Viewing Stormwater Parks as Community Assets

Stormwater parks, which are public facilities that enhance communities by providing stormwater treatment and recreational opportunities in the same location, should be viewed as community infrastructure assets. These integrated systems not only treat polluted runoff from increased urbanization, but also provide improved overall aesthetics, recreational and educational opportunities, and livability where they are constructed. As our communities become more urbanized, it’s important that we begin evaluating community infrastructure beyond a singular purpose and utilize a holistic approach to urban design and stormwater management. While these two disciplines don’t always see eye-to-eye, we should seek out opportunities to implement practices like stormwater parks that provide multiple social, environmental, and economic benefits within our local communities.

There are several key benefits to utilizing stormwater parks including: 1) Development of a regional stormwater management tool, 2) improvement in local placemaking, and 3) Acceleration of stormwater innovation, acceptance, and education. This presentation will discuss multiple case studies from the Pacific Northwest that demonstrate how Contech Engineered Solutions LLC participated in the development of stormwater parks that enhanced the livability of the local community, improved local water quality and provided additional co-benefits. Additionally, we will communicate critical design principles of the example parks, especially those applicable to Virginia, in order to achieve the same goals locally.