Park Receives Stormwater Award

The city of Pensacola’s Admiral Mason Park recently received the Florida Stormwater Association 2012 Project Excellence Award. The association presents the award annually to stormwater projects which demonstrate creativity and excellence.

According to a city press release:

Admiral Mason Park, opened last fall, was transformed from a passive recreational field into a beautiful 2.35-acre pond, with two fountains, walkways, and benches. The park’s extensive landscaping included the addition of 24 live oak trees, as well as magnolias, crepe myrtles, and sabal palms.

“This project could have looked like every other fenced retention pond, but we chose to raise the bar,” said Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward. “We now have a beautiful space that provides a great amenity for citizens and perfectly complements Veterans Memorial Park and the waterfront.”

The pond serves as a stormwater treatment facility for 31 acres of Downtown Pensacola, helping to protect Pensacola Bay from untreated stormwater runoff. Before stormwater enters the pond, it will pass through a sediment chamber and 200-sieve screen to filter out litter and other debris. Thereafter, natural processes like evaporation and plant absorption will minimize the amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus entering Pensacola Bay.

“Excess nitrogen and phosphorus promote algae blooms, which can harm fish and wildlife,” said Al Garza, the City’s Public Works and Facilities Director.

The project also incorporated 27 low-energy LED streetlights, which use approximately two-thirds less energy than traditional lamps.

As part of his commitment to promoting a healthy environment, Mayor Hayward has worked with the City Council to make stormwater improvements a major priority, with six projects completed or underway for Fiscal Year 2011, ten more in Fiscal Year 2012, and nine projects planned for Fiscal Year 2013, representing a total investment of more than $12.9 million.

Garza and City Engineer Derrik Owens accepted the award on behalf of the City earlier this month at FSA’s annual conference in Fort Myers.