THE HISTORY OF GRAND JUNCTION
Grand Junction’s identity lies within the beauty of its streams and landscape features, with Cool Creek at its center. Throughout history the profile of Cool Creek and the surrounding community’s relationship to it has changed. With its origins as a babbling brook, the rise of agrarian culture resulted in the Swamp Act of 1850 which aimed to remove water from potentially productive land, prompting channelization of the creek. The consequences of this scarification were destabilization and the erosion of soils.
Fast forward to 2014. Two weeks following the selection of Land Collective to design the city’s new 7.8-acre downtown park, a 500-year storm event flooded the downtown area. What was to be a civic park for citizens to gather suddenly required a stormwater infrastructure solution to make it possible.
INFRASTRUCTURE MEETS SOCIAL OVERLAY – A NEW PARK PARADIGM
Today, the creek is once again a feature of the City as it once was celebrated in documents pre-1850 which described a town where citizens could engage with the creeks, streams, and each other in a verdant setting. Built where five trails converge, Grand Junction is now the social nexus for the City of Westfield, Indiana.
Now, when significant storm events occur, spillover from the meadow reservoir flows over the weir, and is slowed by J-Hook configurations. Establishing a sizeable stormwater catchment in concert with repair of the creek profile provides floodwaters the needed turbulence to flow less violently and, if necessary, spill over creek banks into naturalized and resilient benches.
Redefining an infrastructure project needed for the mitigation of flooding, Grand Junction has come to embrace its new mission: a lively town center park with social overlay. Now, residents on foot or on bike can grab a coffee inside the Cafe/Skate Pavilion, and survey a generous, lush and resilient landscape. Most importantly, they can engage with each other and identify in an accessible park that is uniquely Westfield. Citizens can now participate in a more active, experiential, and human-engaged future, together.
Read more about the project on Fast Company here!