RK&K’s work on the Southbridge Wilmington Wetlands Park was recently honored with the top Grand Conceptor Award for projects over $5 million from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Delaware during their annual Engineering Excellence Awards.
“This is great recognition for 10 years of hard work on a project that transformed a wasteland into a beautiful wetland park that reduces flooding in an underserved community,” said Project Delivery Leader Justin Reel, PWS. “This achievement took creativity, and perseverance to overcome numerous challenges.”
As the project designer and construction manager/inspector, RK&K worked alongside with the City of Wilmington, the Southbridge community, and several regulatory and environmental groups to create a vibrant wetland park that offered flood relief and storm resiliency.
The original idea for the park was identified by RK&K and the community in a 2007 report. RK&K has been actively working with the city since 2013 to deliver the project.
“The Southbridge Wilmington Wetlands Park project was a challenging but incredibly rewarding project to work on,” said Project Engineer Natalie Byers, PE. “The constrained parameters for site design and the complexity of environmental and civil elements pushed me to grow both in technical and in team coordination skills. I got to work with many disciplines across the firm to come up with solutions to difficult problems.”
Through RK&K’s work providing engineering services from project planning, through final design and construction management and inspection, the park has turned what was once blighted area dominated by invasive species into an attractive community amenity teaming with native species and abundant fish and wildlife habitat.
The team’s use of an innovative tidal control system allowed the stormwater storage and wetland restoration goals to be accomplished in the project’s urban environment, allowing it to benefit the area for generations to come.
“It’s been so satisfying to hear from the nearby communities how the project is improving the long-term future of their neighborhood and to see the new wetland ecosystem flourish,” said Byers.
This project has previously earned the Government Award from the Water Resources Association (WRA) of the Delaware River Basin.
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