Family, friends, Unity Park donors and city officials gathered at the BMW Reedy River Wetlands Preserve at Unity Park to dedicate wetland overlooks to Patricia Owens Smith and Robert Earl DeLapp, junior.
Mayor Knox White celebrated the DeLapp family for their investment in the park. "What really makes this special is how many families and individuals and foundations are also part of this park, in big numbers, in terms of the money invested in the park and the sheer number of individuals," White said.
Robert and Sandy DeLapp provided a significant donation to Unity Park to help make the Reedy River Wetlands possible and dedicated overlooks to Sandy’s mother, Patricia, and Robert’s late-father, Robert. The urban wetlands, which opened earlier this year, feature an outdoor classroom, overlooks and a series of low-impact, ADA-accessible boardwalks offering vantage points to learn about the native species and wildlife living in this critical ecosystem.
The DeLapps joined BMW Manufacturing, Duke Energy and the family of C. Dan Joyner in financing the project.
The restoration of the wetlands, which reveals the original path of the Reedy River, included the removal of invasive plant species as well as ash trees affected by the emerald ash borer, a wood-boring beetle that has killed millions of ash trees in North America. In their place, workers carefully placed at least 100 native trees and more than 200 native shrubs – aligning well with one of Unity Park’s nine guiding principles of driving toward a sustainable future.
Designed by MKSK Studios and executed by Harper General Contractors, the Reedy River Wetlands Preserve is comprised of four acres and may one day be expanded to twice that size.
About the Reedy River Wetlands Preserve
The Wetlands occupy the northwest portion of Unity Park and serve as a critical interpretive and infrastructural feature of the park. 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. Low-impact boardwalks and a central Duke Energy Outdoor Classroom allow visitors first-hand experience of this living landscape and the wildlife and plants that call it home.