BMW Manufacturing announced it will donate $1.25 million to restore and preserve eight acres of urban wetlands at Unity Park. The donation will also support the construction of a series of low-impact boardwalks and overlooks through the wetlands, which occupy the northern portion of the 60-acre park slated to open May 19.
"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."
"Just as BMW has had a transformative impact on the Upstate since its arrival 20 years ago, Unity Park will be a transformative project for the Greenville community," said Greenville Mayor Knox White. "The city is proud to partner with BMW, a worldwide leader in sustainability, on the restoration of the wetlands at Unity Park."
"We're honored to partner with other great companies and individuals in Upstate South Carolina to revitalize an urban community in an attractive and sustainable way," said Max Metcalf, manager of government and community relations at BMW Manufacturing. "Unity Park will not only bring people together, it will celebrate the diversity of communities in which we live."
Wetlands serve as a beautiful, natural focal point 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.
"The wetlands serve as a critical interpretive and infrastructural feature of the park," said Kristina Granlund, a landscape architect at MKSK Studios, the Unity Park designers. "Located along the original course of the Reedy River before its channelization, the wetlands offer a glimpse at this forgotten history of the Reedy while showcasing best-in-class green infrastructural systems and habitat restoration."