Accolades for Wichita Pracht Wetlands Park!
We were on hand during the Kansas Recreation and Park Association Conference Awards of Excellence Luncheon when the City of Wichita Park & Recreation received the 2019 KRPA Innovative Program Award for Pracht Wetlands Park.
Pracht Wetland is a rare site: an urban wetland in Wichita, Kansas, which was preserved and hasn’t been drained, removed, or over-developed. Our design solution focuses on protecting a remnant urban wetland, improving water quality entering and exiting the wetlands, and increasing overall wetlands awareness and appreciation through the development of a minimally invasive, flood resilient boardwalk into the existing wetlands.
Special effort went into not only maintaining the site, but developing a program which will increase the public appreciation for wetlands. This will not only protect this wetland in the future, but encourage protection for other sensitive environments as well. Significant work went into understanding the history of this Playa wetland, both to better understand its hydraulic function and to gain appreciation of the rarity of the wetland in its urban context. This background research included careful studies of aerial photos, analysis of previous reports, and comparisons to other urban wetland projects across the county.
The proposed intervention – a grand yet simple elliptical walkway – balances the desire for wetland and habitat protection while safely inserting people into the site.