Then and Now: San Antonio Riverwalk, Rodney Cook Sr. Park

Throughout our 125th anniversary year, our Then and Now series will share historical photos that connect to the work we still do today. Next, we look at one of San Antonio’s most famous features and a holistic project approach that transformed an area with flood relief to a community park.



San Antonio Riverwalk

Freese and Nichols has been active in South Texas for nearly a century. San Antonio became a second home to the firm when a branch office was established in 1928. A major job for the firm was to plan a storm sewer system and design the Great Bend Cut-Off Channel on the San Antonio River.

In 1929, the City enlisted the firm to design the cutoff after a flood on the river inundated the downtown area. The flood protection work made possible one of the city’s most famous features, the “Paseo Del Rio” or San Antonio Riverwalk.

Rodney Cook Sr. Park

In Atlanta’s Vine City and English Avenue community, stormwater runoff into the combined sewer system had caused significant flooding and sewer overflows in recent years. The Rodney Cook Sr. Park project brings a holistic approach to alleviating neighborhood flooding while providing park amenities and greenspace. The initial plans include combined sewer system relief, soil remediation, green infrastructure and park development.

The project includes the installation of a wet pond with littoral shelf, limited separation of the combined sewer system, and an array of green infrastructure, such as bioretention, stormwater planters and a rainwater harvesting cistern. It will also provide park amenities, public art and gathering places. Additional stormwater trunk lines will be installed to further relieve the combined sewer system.