The Historic Fourth Ward Park, just Northeast from downtown Atlanta, is a new 17 acre park with a 2 acre detention pond that diverts stormwater from entering the combined sewer system. Before the park was constructed, the Fourth Ward was subject to intermittent flooding and sewer overflows. As part of its 2001 plan for sewer system improvement, the City initially planned to build out a tunnel extension of the combined sewer system. In 2003, a stormwater activist developed a plan to turn this brownfield site into a park. After nearly a decade of planning, land acquisition and finally construction, the historic Fourth Ward Park was completed in 2011.
The park is a stormwater detention basin that manages stormwater in the 800-acre drainage basin for Clear Creek. There is a permanent pool of water in the pond that takes on stormwater runoff from up to a 100 year storm. The water is detained during a storm and slowly is released into the Highland Avenue Combined Sewer Trunk, where it would eventually be treated at a wastewater treatment plant. Other features in the park are a fountain using captured stormwater within the pond, a skate park designed by Tony Hawk, and an amphitheater. The park has been a major amenity for the community and visitors, and has spurred economic development along the beltline, all while advancing the City's ability to meet Federal Consent Decree requirements. Furthermore, the creation of a detention pond instead of a CSO tunnel helped the city save more than $5 million in infrastructure costs. The park also borders the Beltline Greenway, a 22-mile multi-modal loop currently underway in Atlanta.
Visit the Historic Fourth Ward Park Conservancy's website for more information about the park and its history.
Atlanta has many other green infrastructure projects, including a green roof on City Hall and a solar PV + rainwater harvesting + green roof on the Southface Energy Institute. Next time you're in Atlanta, check out some more green infrastructure projects from the City's Self-Guided Green Infrastructure tour guide.