Photo courtesy of APWA
Photo courtesy of APWA Photo courtesy of APWA

Tallahassee’s Cascades Park, a new 25-acre urban park, was recently named a 2015 Public Works Project of the Year by the American Public Works Association (APWA). The City of Tallahassee-Leon County Blueprint 2000 and Beyond Intergovernmental Agency, as the managing agency; Sandco, Inc. as the primary contractor; and Genesis as the primary consultant; were presented with the national Project of the Year Award during APWA’s 2015 International Public Works Congress & Exposition Awards Ceremony in Phoenix, Arizona held August 30-September 2, 2015.

The APWA Public Works Projects of the Year awards are presented annually to promote excellence in the management and administration of public works projects, recognizing the alliance between the managing agency, contractor, consultant and their cooperative achievements. This year, APWA selected projects in five categories: Disaster/Emergency, Environment, Historical Restoration, Structures and Transportation. Tallahassee’s Cascades Park Project was awarded in the APWA Project of the Year Environment category at a cost between $25 million and $75 million.

Tallahassee’s Cascades Park performs as a major new flood control/flood management system and recreational facility for the community. The park is located on a U.S. EPA Superfund site, and is a model for reuse of an abandoned industrial site for recreational use and stormwater management. The primary consultant, Genesis, was involved in the planning and design of the Capital Cascades Trail and Cascades Park. The Capital Cascades Trail Master Plan was established as a program for new passive recreation development and extensive stormwater management facilities in a 5.2 mile corridor through downtown Tallahassee’s southeast quadrant. The centerpiece of this green urban corridor is Cascades Park. The St. Augustine Branch stream and “Cascades” waterfall had historically conveyed stormwater through this site, but because of the urban growth in the area, the Cascades had been lost and the stream transformed into a hardened, open-channel stormwater conveyance.

The Cascades Park design produced a new stormwater management system that emulates the original St. Augustine Branch stream bed, which created a healthy, sustainable stream ecology with revegetated stream banks contributing to the treatment process as water flows through the site. Key elements of this project includes a major box culvert system that directs damaging storm event runoff to the lower pond where it stages up and backfloods the park before discharging downstream; large, natural shaped ponds connected by meandering streams that offer significant floodplain storage volume; an intricate Alum Injection System enhances the water quality of the minor storm event runoff; large, in-pond fountains that provides aeration to both ponds while adding scenic park features; and two wet wells in the lower pond – one services the irrigation for the entire park and the second provides water for the architectural fountain, recirculating water between the fountain and the pond.

For more information on the APWA 2015 Projects of the Year, please contact APWA Media Relations/Communications Manager, Laura Bynum,, or call 202.218.6736.