Inhabitat first reported on the Gowanus Canal Sponge Park back in 2011, and now it seems that the innovative idea will finally become a reality. Designed by Susannah Drake of dlandstudio, the project will add public green space along the canal, while doubling as a sponge to filter the polluted surface water. According to Curbed and the Daily News, a small portion of the park will finally be constructed near Second Street starting next year, thanks to funds raised by the city and state as well as federal grants.
The exciting project will attempt to clean up the sewage-laden Gowanus Canal, which has been consistently polluted since the dawn of industrialization in the area. The cleansing park will run along either side of the canal, planted with plants that naturally absorb water, toxins and contaminants. Beneath the plants, deep concrete containers lined with soil will help catch storm water and filter it before it seeps into the canal. Together, the plants and soil cells will act as a sponge, preventing some toxins, contaminants and sewage from entering the water.
The Gowanus Canal Sponge Park was designed to be an addition to the existing stormwater and sewage system, which has failed during storm surges, and of course during Hurricane Sandy. The Sponge Park will also combine landscape, architectural and engineered strategies to retain and filter runoff water, creating a more effective management system.
Construction of the Gowanus Canal Sponge Park is expected to start in early 2014, with the park opening in mid 2015. The estimated pricetag is around $1.5 million.