Construction is underway on the first downtown metropark in Toledo, Ohio. The $3.7 million, 28-acre park on the Maumee River was master planned and designed by SmithGroupJJR, a recognized leader in architecture, engineering and planning.
Located on a former rail yard site, the park will stretch for about a half-mile from the Anthony Wayne Bridge to a Norfolk Southern rail yard. Transforming the brownfield site into a landmark riverfront park will enhance the ecological mission of Metroparks of the Toledo Area, reconnect people to the waterfront with expanded recreational opportunities, and forge new interpretive connections with Toledo’s unique Maumee River heritage. The park is slated to open in fall 2016.
“The new park will serve nearby neighborhoods and downtown with a safe and natural destination with sweeping views of Toledo,” said Toledo Metroparks Deputy Director Dave Zenk, “It will also be a catalyst for the redevelopment of this part of town, which has historically been underutilized.”
SmithGroupJJR designers carefully focused on the park’s ecology. The park’s location on the Maumee – the largest Great Lakes watershed – presented the design team with the opportunity to concentrate on riverbank restoration, riparian wetland and woodland creation.
“The ecology was an integral part of the design, as was recreational access,” said Emily McKinnon, PE, LEED AP, SmithGroupJJR project manager and lead civil engineer.
Unique stormwater management systems are being implemented to reduce harmful impacts to the river’s water quality while providing engaging visual and interpretative opportunities. Runoff from impervious surfaces, including the Anthony Wayne Bridge passing over the site, will be collected and passed through a “treatment train” that filters, infiltrates and stores rainwater before releasing it into the Maumee River.
In addition to the park’s ecological programming elements, Middlegrounds Metropark will also feature a fenced dog park, 2,500-square-foot covered pavilion with restrooms, walking trails, canoe and kayak launch inlet, river and wetland overlooks, woods, meadows, natural areas and event and picnic lawns.
Joining SmithGroupJJR in the design of the park was Tetra Tech, Toledo, which provided water, storm and sanitary sewer and electrical engineering services. The contractor is Mark Haynes Construction, Inc., Norwalk, Ohio.
SmithGroupJJR (www.smithgroupjjr.com) is one of the largest architecture, engineering and planning firms in the U.S. Notable projects completed by the firm’s Ann Arbor, Michigan office include the Detroit RiverWalk and William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor in Detroit; Crosswinds Marsh Interpretive Preserve in Van Buren Township, Michigan; Blue Water River Walk in Port Huron, Michigan; Belle Isle Blue Heron Lagoon Habitat Restoration in Detroit, Michigan; and the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House Master Plan and phase 1 landscape restoration and rehabilitation initiatives in Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan. A national leader in sustainable design, SmithGroupJJR has 368 LEED professionals and 128 LEED certified projects.
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