Aiken’s parkways, the greenway medians between one‐way streets in the historic Aiken grid street system, are integral to the community’s history and its future. In recent years, through multiple planning and community visioning processes and activities, citizens have expressed a desire to enhance the parkways within Aiken’s historic grid.
In addition, the parkways connect people to historical points of interest by telling the story of notable people and events in Aiken’s history.
HOW WE HELPED
McCormick Taylor redesigned eight parkway bioretentions following recommendations from a previous study we completed for the City of Aiken. McCormick Taylor developed two potential layouts for each bioretention. One emphasized cost savings and the other optimized stormwater storage volume. Both simultaneously maximized recreational space and avoided conflicts with tree protection boundaries and utilities.
Intensive landscaping design was completed utilizing native plant species to provide robust color and foliage throughout the year, yet tolerate the extreme conditions often faced by plants within stormwater BMPs. This allowed the establishment of suitable habitats for pollinators and other urban tolerant animals.
To enhance the public’s understanding of stormwater and the need to create stormwater treatment facilities, such as bioretentions, McCormick Taylor created educational signboards that were placed at each bioretention facility. These signs provide stormwater facts, frequently asked questions, and a graphical planting plan that identified the plant species within each bioretention. The installation of these signs also aided the City in meeting one of its Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System permit requirements for public outreach and stormwater education. We also had the bioretentions certified with the National Audubon Society as a Bird Habitat and Monarch Waystation.
While designing the walkways, McCormick Taylor worked with City staff to lay out the paths and proposed two different surfaces to choose from: a compacted stone dust or pervious rubber surface. Due to the proximity of trees along the walking path, having a flexible surface was paramount to limit heaving from roots. Both options were presented in the advertisement plans to allow the City flexibility to meet their budget commitments for the project. Ultimately, the pervious rubber surface was selected.
The completed project created a destination activity that will entice visitors and residents to spend more time downtown and make active use of neighborhood parkways.