Wetlands Preserve Park
The Wetlands Preserve Park Educational & Interpretive Trail (aka Wetlands Preserve Park), identified in the Canal District Master Plan, is currently in the early planning stages. The park will be an inclusive educational/interpretive trail system with facilities for environmental education and wildlife viewing, providing public access to coastal resources within the Canal District. The new ponds that will be created in the Wetlands Preserve Park will provide important stormwater management benefits while also creating a new passive park in the Canal District.
A primary objective of the Wetlands Preserve Park project is to incorporate resident feedback in the design of the park. The public engagement process will help inform design of the park—one that that reflects the priorities articulated by the community during the Canal District Master Plan process. The feedback received will inform public amenity design to include:
- Points of access;
- Pedestrian connectivity;
- Amenities; and
- Education through an interpretive trail system that highlights environmental and cultural features of this historically underserved locale.
Public Meeting & Survey
Wetlands Preserve Park Background & Funding
On June 9, 2022, City Council approved a contract the design of a Wetlands Preserve Park in the amount of $167,994. Consulting services include community engagement and engineering services to provide enhanced green space, increased connectivity, walkability, and low-impact access to the preserved wetlands and ponds north of the railroad tracks in the Canal District through an interpretive trail system with coastal, environmental and historical information to residents and visitors in the area. The services include public engagement and the design of the trail. The contract is funded in part through a Georgia Coastal Incentive grant award on behalf of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to the City in the amount of $80,000.
Springfield Canal Drainage Improvement Project
The Wetlands Preserve Park is a separate project from the Savannah Springfield Canal drainage improvement project, though the two projects will coordinate closely and will share some of the same areas of the Canal District.
The City's Stormwater Management Division has identified specific long-term drainage improvements for the Springfield Canal drainage basin. In November 2020, a Chatham County referendum for SPLOST VII was voted on and approved. This SPLOST VII allocation designated $45 million to drainage improvements within the Springfield Canal drainage basin.
The Stormwater Management Division staff have conceptualized large scale canal improvements for this drainage basin, starting in the downstream limits of the basin (outfall to the Savannah River) and working upstream (Interstate 16, at this time in the planning process). Improvements along these limits of the existing canal have been modeled and the necessary improvements for the 100-year storm (approx. 11” of rainfall over a 24-hour period) conveyance have been identified. Modeled results indicate the requirement of a 100’ wide Springfield Canal, whereas the existing canal is approximately 30’ to 35’ wide.
Stormwater staff has divided these proposed improvements to the Springfield Canal into three separate phases:
- Phase I includes widening the portion of the canal between the new Arena and Highway 17/Interstate 16 on ramp from Louisville Road and the creation of new stormwater detention ponds (within the Wetlands Preserve Park)
- Status: Under design
- Phase II includes widening the portion of the canal between the Highway 17/Interstate 16 on ramp from Louisville Road to the Springfield Canal existing Stormwater Pump Station (just north of Oglethorpe Ave.)
- Status: Planning
- Phase III (the phase currently requiring property acquisition) includes canal improvements between Gwinnett Street and Interstate 16.
- Status: Planning