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March 28, 2022

Best in State: Gold Award
Successful fulfillment of client/owner needs

Photo from ACEC
Herrera designed the stormwater facility to double as a three-tier amphitheater inspired by the shape of a fiddlehead fern.

Herrera Environmental Consultants

Project: Albany Street stormwater park

Client: Thurston County

The small community of Rochester in the rural prairie lands of Thurston County and the Black River watershed suffered from multiple drainage and flooding issues. Herrera collaborated with Thurston County to develop a stormwater solution to reduce flooding, improve water quality treatment and provide the community with an amenity. The designers’ creative vision included a stormwater park that transformed a vacant land parcel into a peaceful natural area filled with native vegetation, a trail and an amphitheater gathering space connected to the adjacent athletic field and playground.

The stormwater park stores and infiltrates nearly 100% of stormwater that flows into the facility while also accounting for extreme weather events that can exceed the facility’s storage and infiltration capacity. Rainwater drains from nearby streets into the pond that cleans the water as it gradually soaks into the ground before entering the underground aquifer and eventually the Black River. The facility will collect and soak in the same amount of water as a football field flooded 12 stories high in a year.

After collecting a large amount of community input, Herrera designed the stormwater facility to double as a three-tier amphitheater inspired by the shape of a fiddlehead fern. The community desired “a natural pond look,” a walking path, and a crosswalk to get safely between an existing park and the new amphitheater.

The design moved forward with a naturalized layout using native vegetation for wildlife habitat and minimizing maintenance needs. Located at the intersection of Albany Street and Littlerock Road, the facility project site has a history of accidents with vehicles losing control at the curve. These accidents are partly due to the lack of a visual indicator to let drivers know they are approaching a curve. New trees installed outside the roadway create a visual indicator for drivers approaching the curve. A new crosswalk at the Albany/Littlerock intersection calms traffic and improves pedestrian safety.

The new perimeter path creates a short nature trail with a vegetated buffer between the trail’s edge and adjacent properties or roadways to connect the old and new park areas. During typical rainstorms, flooding between the stage and the amphitheater seating area generates a dramatic visual separation between the two.

Herrera helped the county win a streamflow restoration grant that funded a large portion of the construction by demonstrating the relationship between stormwater infiltration and streamflow. To adapt to the county’s needs, Herrera completed the design in four phases, allowing for multiple opportunities to change course to maximize project benefits.

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