The neighborhood association had a strong desire for a community gathering area.
As a gateway to the South Carolina capital city of Columbia, Eau Claire's Hyatt Park represents an opportunity for symbiosis between the human and natural environment. Upon its initial discovery in 1901, the site was described as featuring "cool grottos in sylvan recess... with dark streams." Yet amid population and development increase, that dark stream in the grotto has become a ditch into a pipe, a conveyance of water into an impaired system. The Hyatt Park Project implements stream daylighting to restore and utilize the recreational, educational, and environmental value of the water source.
The 11-acre park previously featured both passive and active recreation opportunities. Active recreation consisted of two baseball fields, two basketball courts, and a playground. Passive elements included public art, a mature tree canopy, expansive green space, and picnic tables. A community center with a gymnasium is located on site and is a tremendous resource for the surrounding low-income communities. The topography of the park revealed a fold down its midsection, with a piped creek flowing south through the centerline of the parcel. It was marked by a trail of unattractive stormwater manholes in raised concrete catch basins.
Prior to the redesign of Hyatt Park, the City of Columbia's Park and Recreation staff conducted multiple community design charettes and surveys to understand what features the Hyatt Park Keenan Terrace Neighborhood Association (H.P.K.T.N.A.) would like incorporated in the parks redesign. Based on their input, Todd Martin, the city's Landscape Architect and park planner, developed the conceptual central master plan. The focus of the plan was to daylight a piped tributary and restore the connection with nature to an urban population.
Upon adoption of the master plan, the City of Columbia and the H.P.K.T.N.A. selected Kenneth B. Simmons and Associates (KBS) as the prime consultant to develop construction documents.