Victoria Park

Making Stormwater a Star Attraction in Saint Paul

Victoria Park is a recreational, athletic, and family-friendly space being developed in the West Seventh Neighborhood of Saint Paul. Situated near the Mississippi River near Montreal Avenue, the Victoria Park site is home to a biking and walking trail, an accessible play area, open space and the Nova Classical Academy, a charter school that opened in 2012.

The Challenge

As part of the Victoria Park Master Planning process in December 2013, the City of Saint Paul and CRWD conducted a stormwater feasibility study to determine the best way to manage stormwater runoff on the site. Currently, stormwater is being collected from an adjacent street, flowing onsite via a swale and into a filtration pond. Environmental cleanup of the Victoria Park site is planned for the site as decades of pollution from industrial activity have rendered the land unfit for recreational use. The city and its other partners on the project looked to CRWD to create a unique and functional stormwater feature that will help educate visitors about water health in the District.

“Victoria Park puts stormwater ecology front-and-center for visitors, while adding beauty and interest with its water features. Not only are the stormwater improvements helping to improve water quality as it discharges to the river, but they serve as an educational reminder of the importance of our water resources.” – Bob Fossum, Monitoring and Research Division Manager

The Solution

The City of Saint Paul conducted an environmental cleanup by placing 115,000 cubic yards of fill on the site as a cap on the polluted soil. CRWD and its design partners then developed a plan that featured:

• Raised vegetated pools
• A meandering runnel system
• A meandering stream with integrated natural play
• A series of small cascades
• An open water feature
• A three-foot cascade into a treatment train system
• A point where recirculated water meets treated stormwater
• Braided stream channel
• Limestone bluff steps with vegetated stream banks
• Wetland with boardwalk and overlooks
• Nature based play area for hands-on environmental learning

Under the plan, stormwater treatment will be moved to the northeast corner of the site, closer to a parking lot. Surface water will be collected in a pipe that runs parallel to an adjacent street, with its outlet at the start of the treatment train system, consisting of three basins for cleaning stormwater. When stormwater flows through the natural treatment basins, it passes through vegetation for cleaning and filtration, as well as sand that further filters the water.  Stormwater then returns  to the park and meets recirculated water from the park’s water features before traveling down the braided stream channel to the wetland.


The plan has been developed and will be implemented during the next several years. Once completed, Victoria Park will become a cutting-edge model for stormwater reuse and ecology enrichment. The on-site water features provide habitat within the urban context. A moist-cell management area creates specific ecologies that can be manipulated at different times of the year to match targeted migrant bird species – restoring critical flyway habitat along the Mississippi corridor. Interactive rain gardens are also integrated into natural play areas.  A trail, boardwalk, and artistic wildlife blind immerses visitors in an ecological respite from the surrounding city.

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