Farnsworth Group Wins Award for Kickapoo Creek Project

The American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of Illinois recently recognized the Farnsworth Group Inc. with an Honor Award for the firm's engineering services on the Kickapoo Creek Stream Restoration project performed for the City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department.

Entries were judged on engineering excellence, the degree to which the client's needs were met, and the benefits to the public welfare and private practice of engineering.

Farnsworth Group provided complete site design and civil engineering services for the new 460-plus-acre development in McLean County. The Grove on Kickapoo Creek is designed to be an environmentally friendly site situated at the headwaters of Kickapoo Creek. The large-scale development features more than 88 acres of passive parklands plus a 20-acre active park, 4 miles of trails, a 15-acre site for an elementary school currently under construction and a proposed daycare to serve the development. Developers on the project include Bill & Kent Doud, Vic Armstrong, Ron Rave, Marshall Kaisner, Larry Hundman and Don Franke. The general contractor was Stark Excavating. The centerpiece of the development is the restoration of the existing stream into an 88-acre corridor serving multiple purposes: nature preserve, education, recreation, aesthetic enhancement, habitat restoration, water quality improvement and detention.

The City of Bloomington’s project is garnering national attention for its nature-friendly approach. More than 88 acres alongside the Kickapoo Creek are being developed as a wetlands preserve and park. The channel – straightened and deepened decades ago to serve as agricultural drainage ditches – were re-meandered and the agricultural fields restored with native prairie habitat. The pools for aquatic life are already working as some species have begun to increase in both population and diversity.

The project incorporated an innovative method of providing a combination of stormwater wetlands, creek meandering, floodplain restoration and a downstream restriction to re-connect a straightened agricultural ditch to its restored, native floodplain to provide water quality improvement, habitat, flood peak reduction and aesthetic value. These techniques were employed to provide a solution to a complex set of project objectives that often conflicted. The system had to provide detention at high and low flows, avoid flooding neighboring properties, pass upstream agricultural silt through the system and provide riparian and aquatic habitat.

The restoration of the channel and reconnection with the floodplain will be critical to the enhancement of aquatic and riparian habitat. Using created wetland areas at the storm sewer outlets will provide water quality enhancement and provide additional habitat and aesthetic value to the park.

Farnsworth Group, Inc., an employee-owned company, is a full-service engineering, architecture and survey firm, offering clients over 325 professionals located throughout a nationwide network of offices including Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, Colorado, Georgia, Wisconsin, Massachusetts and California.

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