With a lead donation of $1.25 million from BMW Manufacturing as well as a $500,000 grant from Duke Energy and $100,000 from the C. Dan Joyner Family, eight acres of urban wetlands have been restored at Unity Park.
The preserve includes the Duke Energy Outdoor Classroom as part of an ADA-accessible boardwalk providing new public access to these currently overlooked and unapproachable wetlands. This area serves as an outdoor classroom for educating the public about the important environmental contribution of wetlands and the need to preserve them.
The C. Dan Joyner family helped fund one of three overlooks on a series of low-impact boardwalks providing visitors unique vantage points to learn about the native species and wildlife living in this unique and critical ecosystem in the middle of an urban environment.
The wetlands area along the northern perimeter of the 60-acre park marks the original path of the Reedy River before it was diverted in a 1933 Depression-era project by City engineers and the federal Works Progress Administration.
"Sustainability is an integral part of BMW's corporate strategy, and we actively take responsibility to participate in our local community on sustainability initiatives," said Dr. Robert Engelhorn, president and CEO of BMW Manufacturing. "That is why we are excited about this donation to preserve and maintain these wetlands for future generations. We want to ensure that everyone can enjoy and learn about this unique ecosystem that is in Greenville's back yard."
“We are excited to once again engage with a trusted partner like the city,” said Michael Callahan, Duke Energy’s South Carolina state president. “Unity Park is one of those projects that has so much depth and impact that we had to be a part of it. Not only will we see improvements in the environment with this grant, we will see lives changed.”
The wetlands serve as a beautiful, natural focal point in Unity Park, and are important to the health and prosperity of communities. They help in flood abatement, naturally filter harmful pollutants from water, store carbon and keep it from being released as a greenhouse gas and provide visitors an opportunity to enjoy diverse plant and animal life while learning about wetland habitats, the species that live there, and the ecology's importance to our environment.