Once the location of a zoo, the Old Beechwold neighborhood in Columbus, OH is made up of 137 single-family homes bordering the Olentangy River. T&M was engaged to provide the design of multiple infrastructure improvements for the sensitive, officially historic neighborhood, including two regional bioretention basins, 9,000 LF of storm sewer, 10,000 LF of waterline and pavement improvements throughout the neighborhood. Extensive coordination with the homeowner’s association involved many onsite meetings and presentations. Neighborhood representatives weighed in on items ranging from green infrastructure plant selection to water service valve location.
Once the location of a zoo, in 1985, Old Beechwold was placed on the Columbus Register of Historic Properties, and in 1987 on the National Register of Historic Places. Water mains were nearing 100 years old and underperforming stormwater systems would result in nuisance ponding. This neighborhood is heavily wooded, with mature trees in excess of 36” in trunk diameter. Old Beechwold has many beech trees, which carry significant importance to the overall aesthetic of the historic area.
The Old Beechwold Area Improvements project began as part of a stormwater initiative called Blueprint Columbus. Blueprint Columbus is a city-wide program that reduces storm sewer overflows while also investing in neighborhoods and the local economy with green infrastructure. Through collaboration with the City, the project evolved into a comprehensive utility upgrade for the neighborhood, meant to provide an increased level of service for multiple utilities, with one construction project. . The $7 million (construction cost) project includes storm sewer improvements, bioretention basins, waterline replacement and roadway reconstruction.
Extensive public outreach was performed, mainly to address stormwater concerns that arose during wet weather and green infrastructure design. Site visits were made during rainstorms to document ponding. For the design of the bioretention basins, a committee of representative homeowners was consulted to help choose types of flowers, bushes, and trees, as well as address concerns such as deer damaging the trees before they are mature.
The design minimized disruption to mature trees in the project area, keeping waterline and storm sewer under narrow roadways. Many exceptions to the 10 State Standards were needed. Storm sewer is often specified with watertight joints. One section of storm sewer is to be installed with trenchless construction to minimize disruption to a 100-year-old tree.
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