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Village Receives Engineering Award

The Washington Park Stormwater Improvement project , a joint venture between the Village of Downers Grove and the Downers Grove Park District, has been selected as the recipient of the 2010 Amercian Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Illinois Section Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award for projects with a construction cost of less than $5 million.  Following severe flooding in 2006, the Village and Park District worked together on a plan for a mutually beneficial project that would provide the Village with significant flood relief, while also renovating Washington Park into a focal point on the northeast side of the Village.

The project utilized numerous disciplines within the field of Civil Engineering to fit the stormwater storage volume and new park amenities on the existing 5 acre site, including water resources, structural engineering, geotechnical engineering and urban planning.  The Civil Engineering features of the project included:

  • Over 4,000 linear feet of poured in place 18-inch to 8 foot high decorative cast-in-place concrete retaining walls, which will also serve as terraced seating areas.
  • Ten staircases and two ADA access point for the ball fields.
  • Excavation of 35,000 cubic yards of suitable/unsuitable material to a miximum depth of 13 feet below existing grade.
  • Storm sewers and control structures to bypass runoff from small rain events and store the runoff from larger rain events.
  • Fountain design including potable and sanitary water systems, pump controls and wind speed detectors.
  • Electrical and lighting system design
  • Underdrain and irrigation systems for ball fields. Grading of ball fields, playgrounds and plaza areas to meet ADA requirements on a site with an elevation difference of over 20 feet.
  • Cast-in-place concrete paving, ornamental paving and asphalt paving.

A ribbon cutting and Grand Re-Opening Ceremony was held at the new park on Sunday, September 19, 2010. The park was closed in fall 2008 to begin work on a project to reduce flooding in the surrounding neighborhood by creating stormwater detention capacity within the confines of the park. Categorized as a high-priority in the Village’s Watershed Infrastructure Improvement Plan (WIIP), this is the first phase of a project to reduce flooding in the Washington Park neighborhood and surrounding areas, including Bryan Pl. between Franklin St. and Rogers St.

The cost of the Washington Park Improvements totaled $3 million. By partnering with the Park District, the Village was able to save significantly on the project to create two separate above-ground stormwater detention basins using three acres of the park. Without the partnership, costs would have exceeded $8 million, due to the fact that land acquisition equivalent to the three acres needed to construct the detention basins would have cost approximately $6.2 million. As a result of working together, a savings of $5 million was realized.

“Acting on our own, the Village would have only been able to provide the stormwater improvements needed, but working together with the Park District we’re able to provide stormwater improvements, as well as upgraded park amenities at significant cost savings to the community,” stated Village Manager Dave Fieldman.

In exchange for use of the land, the Village allocated $1.3 million dollars for park improvements selected by the Park District, including new playground equipment, picnic areas, athletic fields, decorative fencing, entryway signs, a fountain and plaza.

Park District Administrator Dan Cermak commented, “We have achieved a new level of intergovernmental cooperation and partnership through this project, and we are very excited about the recreational benefits to the community for decades to come.”

The Washington Park cost comparisons  table illustrates the savings achieved through the partnership.