Creating a Functional use of City Space Along the St. Croix River in Correlation to Seasonal Flooding
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Many locations within the United States have major flooding problems. One of these locations is along the St. Croix River. The St. Croix River is a tributary of the Mississippi River and it is approximately 169 miles long. It is considered a National Scenic Riverway, and it is a divider between the states of Wisconsin and Minnesota. It is also a popular recreational location and is under the protection of the National Park Service. The St. Croix river has been home to people for thousands of years and runs through many historical towns and cities. Human residency along the St. Croix River began as early as 10,000 years ago. Historic American Indian sites are present along the river and it was also a favored fur trade route from the Mississippi to Lake Superior. One of the historical communities along the St. Croix that is impacted by seasonal flooding is Stillwater, Minnesota. Stillwater is one of Minnesota’s oldest towns. In 1848 the first territorial convention that began establishing Minnesota as a state was held here, and because of this important meeting, Stillwater is called the birthplace of Minnesota. Because of the St. Croix River’s location, it is often prone to flooding especially during March and early April. Stillwater’s Lowell Park is near the river and consists of park space, sidewalks, the Stillwater Lift Bridge Historical Site, a bike path, restaurants, and a boardwalk with boat ties available to dock. This area floods every year with the boardwalk being most affected. Fifty-four years ago, the river crested to a record of 694.07 feet. A dike had to be built to keep the flood waters from destroying downtown Stillwater. In this study I will use case studies and propose a redesign of Lowell Park to make functional use of the space. Furthermore, the design will allow for the impact of the seasonal rise of the St. Croix River. This plan will incorporate the multiple systems that interface with the park and river and include recreation and historical context.