Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness for Resilient Canal Wall, Riverwalk, and Park
The City of Peabody selected Weston & Sampson to provide resiliency, engineering, and design services associated with two Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Action Grants provided by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. The city’s goal was to upgrade the area and make it a more pleasurable experience for pedestrians and other users by using green infrastructure (GI) and other techniques. This project focuses on an approximately 1,600-foot-long area located along the southern bank of the North River Canal in the urban industrial section of downtown Peabody. During the first grant, we conducted a site investigation and resiliency evaluation to propose the introduction of GI along the south bank of the canal and to determine the feasibility of reconfiguring portions of the land along the canal to accommodate flood waters to provide relief to other parts of the system. In addition, we conducted a wall repair alternatives analysis to evaluate options to replace the failing canal wall, portions of which are crumbling into the river. Based on a previous visual inspection we had performed, its condition varies drastically over its length, ranging from “good,” which needs minor or no repairs, to “poor,” requiring full or partial reconstruction.
As part of the second grant, we will be advancing the design of the preferred wall alternative and Riverwalk to 75% and will also permit the project and engage the community in a robust outreach process to ensure that the design reflects the interests of the public.
Creation of this linear park and resource will create new recreational open space in an economically disadvantaged part of the community, provide the public with a new pedestrian corridor for multimodal transportation, and enhance the economic vitality of the city’s downtown. In addition to facilitating the detention of additional stormwater and riverine flood storage capacity, the use of GI will provide the public with relief from extreme heat under climate change. This project will also address contamination from the historic use of the area as a tannery district and will increase the city’s resilience against flooding and climate change in Peabody Square and along the North River Canal.