Unique Urban Park Space
The Globeville Landing Park project in Denver, Colorado is the reimagining of a larger, regional stormwater facility that serves a historically underrepresented community, addresses environmental contaminants, and honors the site's historical and cultural context. The existing park was designed in 1974 and is located along the South Platte River between the National Western Center Campus and the River North neighborhood. It is also the location where the largest drainage basin in Denver discharges into the river through an unsightly and unsafe concrete lined channel. Rainfalls that were greater than a two-year storm event caused extensive surface flooding to numerous residences, businesses, and roadways. An ideal approach would have been to construct an open channel with the capacity to convey the 100-year flow to the river, however, due to the dense existing development and lack of open space, this was simply not practical or feasible.
The City and County of Denver and the Mile High Flood District embarked on a project to create a conduit system to alleviate this drainage problem. The team designed 4,500 linear feet of concrete conduit to carry the 100-year stormwater event under several train tracks, roadways, and through an existing Superfund site. The conduit system outfalls in Globeville Landing Park in a location where much of the runoff from the basin naturally enters the river.
Several goals were identified at the outset of the project: create unique engineering strategies for the treatment of stormwater and conveyance of the floodwaters to the river, provide appropriate interventions for the contaminated site, involve adjacent communities in park program development, and use the context and history of the site to create a unique urban park space. Architerra Group, Inc. collaborated with the design team to find solutions to complex engineering issues with ecology, habitat, aesthetics, and community in mind.
Storm Drainage System
The storm drainage system was improved to contain the 100-year storm event and provide improved flood protection for over 5,000 residences and businesses. An open, more natural stormwater outfall was designed to provide wildlife habitat, ecosystem restoration, and improve water quality. The outfall is designed to dissipate the high-energy flow of water and features a stable, impermeable lining beneath the open channel to separate and protect surface water flows from contaminated groundwater. These improvements were integrated into the redesigned park space.
Architerra worked closely with an ecological consultant to design a wetland channel that maximizes treatment and habitat diversity. The grading of the channel created different hydrologic zones for different seed mixes and plugs. Close collaboration with the geotechnical engineer/liner designer was also required to protect the liner and obtain federal approvals. A variety of forbs and grasses were specified to provide maximum water quality benefits, habitat improvements, and protect the channel liner.