At a Glance

Unity Park restores a 60-acre floodplain site while unifying, celebrating, and enhancing the quality of life for communities that have suffered racial and environmental justice.

Project Description

The Southernside, West Greenville, and Hampton neighborhoods of Greenville, South Carolina have suffered a history of racial segregation and environmental justice. Located along the Reedy River, the area has been home to a city stockade, an incinerator, a landfill and, in recent years, the city's garbage trucks and broken-down vehicles. Although the area contained two city parks, only one was historically accessible to African Americans, and in 1939, a portion of it was reclaimed by the City to construct a professional baseball stadium in which African Americans were relegated to a small section of outfield seating.

In an effort to right a century-old wrong, the City of Greenville launched an initiative to create Unity Park, a green gathering space that not only links the formerly segregated parks, but knits together Greenville's diverse neighborhoods, creates opportunities for affordable housing, and restores beauty and function to a portion of the Reedy River. In addition to an observation tower symbolizing the city's desire to look back at its past and forward to its future, the park will include an outdoor event venue, a playground and interactive water feature, and a natural play area. It will also include a pedestrian bridge and a trail for strolling along a restored Reedy River.

As the ecological consultant on a design team led by MKSK, Biohabitats developed designs for stream and wetland restoration and provided recommendations to improve soils and native vegetation and manage stormwater and invasive species throughout the park. The final design will regenerate ecological function that enhances habitat, water quality, and opportunities for residents to enjoy and safely access nature along the Reedy River.

Details

Bioregion

Southeast Atlantic

Physiographic Province

Piedmont

Watershed

Reedy River

Expertise Areas

Urban Ecology

Owner

City of Greenville Parks and Recreation

Location

Greenville, South Carolina, United States

Project Team
  • MKSK
  • EMH&T Floodplain Management