We are thrilled to announce that Gretna City Park received the AIA New Orleans Small Scale Honor Award for the project’s groundbreaking design approach to the integration of small scale architecture with in a high performance stormwater landscape! The park embodies Living with Water®, pairing infrastructure with amenities while prioritizing risk reduction and elevating quality of life. Gretna City Park is the first completed pilot project in Louisiana’s Strategic Adaptions for Future Environments (LA SAFE), an ambitious regional adaptation program for six of the state’s most flood-vulnerable parishes. Waggonner & Ball led master planning for LA SAFE and master planning, stormwater design, and architecture for Gretna City Park.
The 80-acre park’s passive recreation facilities and native habitat boast acres of wildflowers, hundreds of new trees, shade pavilions, piers, and miles of walking paths that wind around ponds and lagoons. However, Gretna City Park’s high-performance landscape is an important asset in mitigating neighborhood flooding, providing 6.5 million gallons of stormwater storage from surrounding streets and homes. In addition to effectively managing water, the project also managed soil, reusing all excavated material on-site. Existing water structures were also repurposed, with an outfall weir serving as the foundation for a new shade pavilion, while two others serve to separate a new bog garden from a lagoon. Jurors remarked ‘the built structures go beyond the engineering of the weir dams of the park and become architecture’.
As the highest capacity stormwater park in the New Orleans region, Gretna City Park offers a model for how to pair infrastructure with amenities, and risk reduction with quality of life. The simple yet distinctive architecture establishes a clear sense of place, and the landscape embraces water as an asset rather than a threat.