Conway Holding Dedication Ceremony for Chestnut Bay Resiliency Project
CONWAY, SC [November 13, 2023] – The City of Conway will hold a dedication ceremony for the Chestnut Bay Resiliency Project at Freeman Drive on November 15, 2023, at 11:00am.
The Chestnut Bay Resiliency Project was made possible by acquiring a $2.17 million grant from FEMA's Fiscal Year 2021 Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program. This significant grant will empower the City to embark on a groundbreaking project to address flooding concerns and enhance the community's recreational spaces.
Through FEMA-funded buyout of properties subject to repetitive flooding, the City removed many homes near Trinity Church. Kevin Chestnut, the City’s former Public Works Director, realized that the City owned enough contiguous parcels to construct infrastructure to hold additional flood water in the area. The existing stormwater for half of the Sherwood neighborhood is piped directly into Crabtree Canal, and Chestnut had the idea to daylight those pipes into a stormwater detention/retention area where the water will be slowed and cleaned before discharge into Crabtree or absorption into the ground. The site will also provide additional storage during flash flooding events before overwhelming Crabtree.
Chestnut’s idea led to a partnership with The Nature Conservancy to bring in a nature-based engineering firm that proposed converting the upland areas into a shallow stormwater detention/retention area, mimicking wetlands. After multiple design ideas, Robinson Design came up with the idea of a Carolina Bay.
Mary Catherine Hyman, Deputy City Administrator, says this about the project named in honor of Kevin Chestnut, “During his time as Public Works Director, Kevin was always able to see things that others didn’t. He was constantly working to make our infrastructure, including roads and stormwater, better for everyone. I’m so excited that this amazing project will honor his legacy and dedication to the City of Conway.”
The focal point of this transformative initiative is Chestnut Bay, set to become a manmade Carolina Bay. Carolina Bays, natural wetlands with crucial water storage capabilities, are integral to flood mitigation and serve as unique ecological features. The term "Carolina Bay" is derived from the bay trees commonly found in their vicinity.
The chosen location for Chestnut Bay is a neighborhood that has borne the brunt of flooding in recent years. Through meticulous planning and innovation, the City aims to turn this unused land into a haven for flood resilience and community recreation. A thoughtfully designed community park will encompass Chestnut Bay, offering a recreational amenity for residents and visitors alike.
Mayor Barbara Blain-Bellamy expressed the City's commitment to flood mitigation, stating, "The City of Conway continues to make flood mitigation our top priority. We can't stop the rain, but we will do everything within our power to ensure that the water that falls on our city can make its way to the sea without disrupting the lives of our citizens."
The Chestnut Bay project is a testament to the City of Conway's dedication to building a resilient future. As the community prepares to witness the transformation of this innovative stormwater and park project, the City remains steadfast in its commitment to the well-being and prosperity of its residents.