photo of award-winning Atlanta park
ASCE has honored Rodney Cook Sr. Park in Vine City with the 2022 Innovation in Sustainable Civil Engineering Award.

ASCE has honored Rodney Cook Sr. Park in Vine City with the 2022 Innovation in Sustainable Engineering Award for its collaborative design effort and its watershed achievement. Located in Atlanta’s major economic, cultural, and transportation hub, the 16-acre park includes significant, sustainable features. The park improves the area’s aesthetics and overall quality of life for residents and workers.

The Rodney Cook Sr. Park in Vine City represents a collaborative design effort among local government agencies and the community. Using a combination of outreach methods, the design team met with local leadership and neighborhood organizations to solicit feedback, including an on-site design charrette with the neighborhood to gather ideas and input on the proposed program elements. The charrette also served as an educational opportunity to help the community understand the stormwater features and functions while visualizing the layout of park elements. The park drastically improves the area's aesthetics and overall quality of life for residents and workers. The completed park supports the community with new recreational programs and opportunities for local youth, among which are neighborhood health and fitness programs and amenities within the park provide ways for the community to gather, connect, and enjoy nature.

The 16-acre Cook Park is located in Atlanta's major economic, cultural, and transportation hub. It fits seamlessly into the Atlanta Regional Commission's comprehensive vision for improved walking and biking.

The 10-million-gallon pond provides relief to Proctor Creek, eliminates combined sewer overflows for a 100-year storm event, reduces strain on the city's sewer system, and provides relief to the 150-acre area along Joseph E. Boone Boulevard. The water treatment system accommodates historic water levels without flooding the surrounding neighborhood. Even when the park floods, it remains an asset to the community. Several areas are designed to remain dry, keeping them open to the community.

A watershed achievement in many ways, the community park includes significant, sustainable features:

• Beautiful and functional rain gardens filter storm flow from incoming pipes.

• Stormwater planters line the streetscape edge (to capture runoff from the neighborhood streets).

• Constructed wetlands and native plantings surround the wet pond to enhance water quality.

The Innovation in Sustainable Engineering Award recognizes a civil engineering project for its creativity in the form of innovative sustainability.  Projects must demonstrate adherence to the principles of economic, social, and environmental sustainability.