Along the Scioto River in downtown Columbus, Ohio, 160 acres that once were littered with onsite industrial operations have been redeveloped into an urban recreational oasis. The Whittier Peninsula – a former brownfield site that was neglected and underutilized – was transformed into the Scioto Audubon Metro Park with wetlands, walking trails and a new environmental education center.
From inception to completion, B&N provided guidance and assistance with this dramatic environmental restoration. To set the project in motion, B&N helped the Columbus and Franklin County Metropolitan Park District (Metro Parks) obtain $1.5 million in brownfield cleanup grants to fund the project. As the project developed, B&N helped define the vision for the space and provided environmental services including:
- Phase I and II Environmental Property Assessments
- Human Health Risk Assessments
- Supervision of remedial activities on the site
- Design of remediation plans including the creation of wetlands in areas where impacted soil was removed
The project involved addressing the site history, including environmental exposure of the property and determining how it could be remediated for recreational land use. Metro Parks chose to enter the property into the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Voluntary Action Program (VAP) to properly assess and clean up the on-site contamination. This successful approach resulted in the filing of four No Further Action Letters and Covenants Not to Sue (CNS) from the Ohio EPA.
Grange Insurance Audubon Center
A centerpiece at Whittier Peninsula is the 18,000 square-foot Grange Insurance Audubon Center. This hands-on conservation and nature-based learning center also is a stopover point for thousands of migrating birds. As civil site engineers for the Grange Insurance Audubon Center, B&N designed the stormwater management system which incorporated many sustainable features such as:
- Constructed wetlands
- A rain garden
- A stormwater retention pond
- A bioswale
- Pervious pavement in the parking lot
B&N also assisted with the environmental permitting of a geothermal well field which provides geothermal heating and cooling for the center.
Urban Recreational Destination
This successful brownfield renewal project transformed a blighted and crime-ridden property into a recreational destination for the community. More than 650,000 people visited Scioto Audubon Metro Park in 2013 to enjoy fishing, biking, sand volleyball, a dog park, a playground, a picnic area and rock climbing on the largest outdoor public climbing wall in the Midwest.
In 2009, the project received a Clean Ohio Fund Impact Award from the Ohio Department of Development and an Honor Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Ohio in the Engineering Excellence Awards competition. In 2014, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency presented the project with an Outstanding Achievement Award in Brownfield Redevelopment.