Atlanta/ Parks & Nature
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Published on May 23, 2024
Dunwoody Invests $700,000 in Stormwater Infrastructure to Protect Nature Center’s Eco ClassroomSource: City of Dunwoody

Dunwoody City Council members and officials from the Dunwoody Nature Center congregated this Monday to give a thumbs up to a new stormwater infrastructure that's designed to save the day for their beloved Eco Classroom. The $700,000 improvement project was financed by the city's Stormwater Repairs and Maintenance kitty and is expected to address some serious soil erosion problems caused by drainage issues around the center.

"The Crean Eco Classroom opened in early 2020 and quickly became a vital part of our programming, but the sidewalk to the structure was at risk of failing due to stormwater drainage issues," Nancy Longacre, Executive Director of Dunwoody Nature Center, expressed her relief. Funded by the City of Dunwoody, the project includes a swanky new system that should keep the area high and dry.

The solution involved Dewberry Engineers collaborating with Dunwoody's Stormwater Utility to come up with a plunge-pool system. This system acts like a nature-inspired sponge, soaking up and slowing down stormwater, something that Dunwoody Public Works Director Michael Smith is proud of. Constructed from river rock and granite veneer, this green infrastructure not only captures and directs water but it also matches the existing detention basin's aesthetic to a T.

Along with the water management structures, part of the spruce-up involved the removal and replacement of a portion of the sidewalk in favor of an elevated walkway, allowing stormwater to flow freely underneath it. Complementing the environmental engineering, the area's been beautified with flora that dovetails with the surroundings. And let's not forget the Eco Classroom itself—a sterling example of upcycling with its dual repurposed shipping containers and a green roof that's a magnet for pollinators, according to the City of Dunwoody official website.

Since its inception, the Crean Eco Classroom has been pulling double duty as a learning space and a bug hub, drawing butterflies, moths, bees, and hummingbirds to its verdant rooftop garden like bees to flowers. The new stormwater installations promise to enhance this hotspot for education and conservation in Dunwoody well into the future.