Virginia Beach Park & Recreation’s Marshview Park Phase 1 Project Earns the Envision Silver Award for Sustainable Infrastructure
Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation Department’s Marshview Park Phase 1 project is the recent recipient of the Envision Silver award from the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI). The park is the second project in Virginia to earn an Envision sustainable infrastructure award. The Envision system rates the sustainability of infrastructure projects across the full range of environmental, social, and economic impacts.
“We wanted to keep the Marshview Park area as natural as possible for city and area residents to enjoy while creating an engaging recreation space,” commented Clark Nexsen Senior Civil Engineer, Allyson Monsour. “We are proud of this project. It is the first Envision-verified project in Hampton Roads and it sets a precedent for future sustainable infrastructure design in the area.”
The Marshview Park Phase 1 project will provide a 17.9 acre park with recreational amenities open to the public during the day in Virginia Beach. The park will include an eight-foot wide paved trail, fenced-in dog parks, a multi-purpose playing field, and two new parking lots. Picnic shelters, benches, a playground, and a restroom facility are also planned for future development within the park. Associated landscaping, aesthetics, stormwater management, and other infrastructure improvements will also be provided.
Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation worked in close collaboration with Clark Nexsen, a national architecture and engineering firm, to design the Marshview Park Phase 1 project that received an Envision Silver award for sustainable infrastructure.
As a collaboration between ISI and the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, the Envision system rates the impact of sustainable infrastructure projects as a whole. The Envision system measures sustainability in five categories: Quality of Life, Leadership, Natural World, Resource Allocation, and Climate and Risk. These key areas contribute to the positive social, economic, and environmental impacts on a community.
Some of the sustainable accomplishments of the project include:
Quality of Life: The Marshview Park project will make the existing park and surrounding neighborhoods safer and more accessible. The property currently contains a dirt path used for light recreation, but with the addition of the park, it will improve the public space and increase community livability. There are also almost six acres of wetlands on the property, which will remain largely undisturbed, allowing park users to enjoy the natural features of the land. The current dirt path will be replaced with the eight-foot wide asphalt trail, and will meet American Disability Act (ADA) standards and allow runners, walkers, cyclists and others to safely navigate the trail. The trail will also connect entrances on either side of the project so users can travel between neighborhoods safely and efficiently. In addition, the separated, fenced-in dog parks will provide an area for dogs without compromising the safety or comfort of other park users.
Leadership: Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation and members of the project team have made significant commitments to sustainability at both an organization level as well as specifically to the Marshview Park project. This project aligns with several sustainability goals and objectives, including promoting long-term preservation and conservation of open spaces and natural areas, meeting sustainability standards for buildings and infrastructure, which includes achieving an Envision rating, enriching civic value and function, and reflecting the priorities and culture of the community. The Marshview Park Phase 1 project supports the city’s sustainability plan by providing citizens with a much-needed recreational space and preserving existing habitats and important natural resources.
Resource Allocation: The project team specified that all materials required for this project, including plants, aggregates, and soils need to be locally sourced. The project team also designed the site with minimal changes to grading, helping to balance the cut and fill ratio, which reduces the transportation and environmental impacts associated with taking excavated materials off site.
Natural World: The design team has also implemented measures to minimize impacts to existing and potential habitats on the site. Time-of-year tree clearing restrictions were implemented to protect the habitat of the endangered Northern Long Eared Bat. Impacts to existing wetlands and forested areas on the site have been minimized and signage will be included to help protect wetland areas from park users’ disturbance, and will educate users about the important functions of wetlands. The Marshview Park will also be constructed and maintained to remove invasive species from the site, and discourage their re-establishment.
Climate and Risk: The region in which this park is located is second only to New Orleans in vulnerability to sea level rise in the country. The Marshview Park project, with its green space and natural wetlands, offers a range of benefits to the host and neighboring communities, including flood control. No critical infrastructure is located within the park that could be affected by changing climate conditions, so the park acts as an important buffer.
“Residents will benefit greatly from the increased recreational opportunities and ecological enhancements this park will provide. ISI is pleased to present the Marshview Park Phase 1 project with the Envision Silver award for sustainable infrastructure,” said ISI President and CEO John Stanton.