It is said that a public project with the potential to produce multiple positive outcomes extending beyond the scope of the initial problem is more likely to be funded than a single-solution one. The Founders Park project certainly had an urgent goal, which was to combat the severe storm water flooding in historic downtown Johnson City. But it also rolled some highly desirable secondary benefits into the outcome: it created a beautiful city-owned park, boosted the economic and cultural development in the immediate area, provided an environmentally sound and sustainable stream system and green space, and kicked off a multi-phase Master Development Plan for Johnson City.
The project removed 700 feet of the underground Brush Creek triple barrel box culvert running beneath an old warehouse. It built an environmentally enhanced channel and constructed a five-acre greenway park along the creek banks, which features a 200-seat amphitheater.
Keystone’s Country Manor® wall system was specified by the engineering firm Lamar Dunn & Associates for the tiered channel walls. Because the creek walls would be completely submerged during major rain events, one of the most important considerations in selecting the wall system was that it had to withstand significant water flows and rapid drawdown of water from urban streams. In addition, the aesthetics and design versatility of Country Manor made it the product capable of handling all the requirements of the project.
The channel wall design was for a tiered wall configuration that allowed for stream access during low flow times and stability during high flow events. The maximum height is ten feet, with the longest wall at 933 feet and a total wall length for the project at 2,278 lineal feet. The total wall area on the project is 12,415 sf.
Country Manor was also used to construct seat walls for the amphitheater. Two prefabricated Connector®-style, Continental® pedestrian truss bridges, one a 25’ span x 8’ wide and the other a 35’ span x 8’ wide, were installed at the site. The painted steel structures were selected for their durability and aesthetic quality. Trex®, a composite material made from recycled wood and plastic, was selected for the decking for its longevity and durability.
In his article on the project, Don Mauldin, PE, of LDA Engineering said, “(The) constant flooding prevented current property owners from investing in their properties and kept new businesses from locating to the area.” The park, which officially opened in early 2014, has proven to be a project offering a multitude of positive outcomes for the City. A second phase, an enhancement of another upstream section of the channel, is due to commence soon.