Hillside Park Stormwater Pond and Recreation Destination

JMT took a multi-disciplined approach to convert a former building site into a state-of-the-art, green stormwater management facility and a community recreational area.

The redevelopment of the former Rodney dormitories associated with the University of Delaware became a cornerstone to a foundation of stormwater quantity and quality improvements the City of Newark undertook to help manage flooding and meet the requirements of its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. The project was designed with a flood control goal of 6 inches to remediate the frequent flooding that occurred at the existing site.

JMT not only designed the park and stormwater facilities, but also developed and implemented a comprehensive public outreach program to garner support for the funding referendum to purchase and redevelop the site. The master planning process provided a platform for advancing the project through the referendum process. The $9 million project was primarily funded through the Environmental Protection Agency’s state revolving loan fund.

The redevelopment of this site into a community park increased stormwater utility fees, and users voted to approve the loan the City of Newark needed to purchase the site. So early, collaborative, and continuous outreach with the public was vital to the success of the project.

The new seven-acre Hillside Park opened to the community with new amenities including stormwater demonstration site, destination playground, natural playscape, ADA pier for catch and release fishing, overlooks, interpretive stations, solar aerators, preservation of existing mature trees, open space, two pavilions that can be used for special events or rented, and connectivity to adjacent pedestrian routes and neighborhoods.

“It’s a multi-faceted park. It’s going to bring stormwater management to a neighborhood that desperately needs it. I think it’s going to give a great opportunity for outdoor recreation for adults and for children as well,” Mayor Jerry Clifton said. “I think it checks off all boxes.”