How Greenville, SC’s Unity Park was designed to handle flooding

City engineers watched their work get tested to start off 2023.


Flash flooding at Unity Park | Photo by the City of Greenville

The chances of rain this week are much lower than the last when Greenville received ~4 inches of rain causing flash flooding, especially in areas around the Reedy River.


What a difference 24 hours can make. | Videos by The City of Greenville

City engineers say there will always be times when a river exceeds its banks, because that’s what rivers do, but it’s about how leaders and engineers can plan ahead to minimize damage:

  • The city built Unity Park in a floodplain because parks recover quickly after taking on water, unlike buildings and other properties.

    The bench gives the swelling river a place to go. | Videos by The City of Greenville

  • Along the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail, engineers designed river benches to give the water a place to go in weather events that cause the river to rise, protecting businesses at The Commons.
  • From Unity Park’s electrical systems to the soil mixture to the furniture and structures to the plants and trees, park designers made design choices that withstand the rising Reedy River.
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