Thanks to Angie and Jen for their wonderfully professional assistance on this and many other projects.
— John Rago, Communications Director, City of Wilmington, DE
Thank you for always responding so quickly. You have made the Reservoir project a true pleasure.
— Marie Ferrier, Director of Facilities & Services and Assistant to the President, Ursuline Academy

After 125 years of continual service, the historic Cool Spring Reservoir needed upgrading due to federal water-quality regulations, concerns about algae growth and contamination, and new technology in water service, resulting in a $23 million project to build a buried water tank and establish a new high quality public park over the tank.

HFA led and implemented all aspects of public involvement and project communications for the project. HFA identified key stakeholders who would be affected by the tank construction and worked with the Cool Spring/Tilton Neighborhood Association to form the Cool Spring Reservoir Working Group to coordinate between the community and the City. HFA organized regular working group meetings and workshops, presented construction updates at neighborhood association meetings, and sent frequent updates to all interested parties via a project E-Newsletter.

In order to develop the new park space as a welcome and long-lasting community amenity, the City commissioned HFA to manage a Landscape Architecture Design Competition. HFA worked with the working group to develop design guidelines for the competition. HFA wrote the RFQ, evaluated the responses, prepared the “Invitation to Participate” for selected designers, and fielded questions from potential designers. HFA also organized two public workshops to evaluate design ideas and develop a consensus recommendation to help the City of Wilmington’s Architecture & Engineering Board select the winning design team.

During the four years of construction, HFA continued to help the City work productively with the community, negotiating Good Neighbor Construction Management requirements between the City, the contractor, and the surrounding neighborhood and coordinating construction management issues that impacted the surrounding neighborhood.  

The skilled public outreach practiced during this project helped the City exceed expectations and build credibility with the neighborhood.  HFA’s dedication to reliable communication and tailored outreach resulted in a happy client and neighborhood, with zero compliant calls to the City during this long and intensive construction project.

The Cool Spring Reservoir Tank is featured in Peter Harnik’s book, Urban Green: Innovative Parks for Resurgent Cities and has received two prestigious awards: Delaware Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Project of the Year Award and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) for Sustainable Public Health Protection Award, U.S. EPA.