GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – As the water continues to recede back to its normal levels in rivers and creeks across Greenville County, the city said there are some positive things they saw from the flooding.
On Wednesday, Unity Park was almost unrecognizable. The flood waters stretched far beyond the banks of the Reedy River and in several other locations.
After the rain came to a stop, engineers ventured out to survey flood levels.
“We’re quantifying the flow of the river. We’re seeing how much water was moving through at this point,” Zach Smoot, Woolpert engineer, explained to 7NEWS on Wednesday. “We want to see how high the peaks get. This is really useful for the city and county municipalities for flood models and setting where flood boundaries go.”
It’s sights like these (see photos) that follow major flooding events such as the one residents encountered Wednesday.
“This was a record event,” said Paul Dowe. “Every rain event has it’s own characteristics. It definitely exceeded some records that we had.”
Dowe is an engineer with the city of Greenville. He said the excess amount of water is included in many of the city park’s master plans.
“A lot of our parks like Timmons Park, Unity Park, and Cleveland Park are in flood plains,” Dowe said. “They are in natural areas and nature will win and so you have to plan around those events.”
“We knew that it would flood. It’s unavoidable and we took some measures to help reduce the amount of damage that you would see from a flood,” said Darren Meyer.
Meyer is a part of a team of architects that helped design Unity Park. He said like many other locations, Unity Park was strategically placed on a flood plain.
“It’s not a good place for homes, it’s not a good place for businesses, but it’s a great opportunity for a park,” said Meyer.
The city of Greenville said the parks are resilient and that nature and environmental engineering allow them to take on water and recover quickly.
“We’ve created a flood plain bench where we’ve cut into that bank and laid it back softly that creates a massive amount of volume for when flood waters rise up. It gives that water a place to go,” explained Dowe.
As the engineers surveyed the aftermath Thursday, they said the design worked exactly as they planned.
“The waters came up and then withdrew the way that we had intended them to,” said Meyer. “The way that the park was designed and engineered and the way that the city has maintained it, coming in afterwards so quickly so that we could open back up, it’s really remarkable to see that it’s working out the way that we’d hoped.”
Engineers said they are constantly evaluating flood levels when it rains. They plan to do so again the next time there is a major storm.