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MERRITT ISLAND TOWN CENTER &
MERRITT ISLAND, FLORIDA
LAURA R. BRADFORD
SENIOR INDEPENDENT PROJECT
I would like to give many thanks to Chris Lathrop ofDix.Lathrop and
Associates, Inc. for guiding me through the process of Capstone. I could not have done
it without her.
I would also like to thank Susan Hall of Susan Hall Landscape Architecture for
encouraging me to do this project.
Finally, I would like to support my family and myfriendsfor supporting me through
this arduous process.
Table of Contents
Site Context & Background
Proposed Process & Outcomes
LID Principles & the UF SEEP
Civil Engineering Information
Adjacent Land Uses
Current Site Conditions in Stormwater Park
Soils & Ecosystems
Water Conveyance System
Town Center Plan & Details
Stormwater Park Plan & Details
Bibliography & Research
The purpose of this project was to alleviate stormwater issues along SR-520, a major road running
east-west through Merritt Island, Florida. Currently, none of the many businesses along SR-520 are
allowed to redevelop because there is nowhere to place stormwater. The businesses along SR-52o are
in need of redevelopment and the result would benefit the local economy. The site was previously
owned by a condominium developer, but with the latest downturn of the economy, the site was put on
the market. Recently, Brevard County purchased this approximately 6o-acre site with the intentions
of diverting all of the stormwater from SR-520. This park has the potential not only to be a great eco-
logical and useful resource for the community, but also the ability to be of great cultural significance.
This stormwater park could become a great resource for the surrounding communities and an excel-
lent educational tool for community members, including local schools. Additionally, the St. John's
River Water Management District is very happy to see this park go into place because channeling all
the storm runoff into one large basin is much more ecologically effective and of higher quality after
settlement than a plethora of tiny retention ponds along SR-520 that become stagnant.
At the mid-term critique of this project, it was brought to my attention by a jury member that I
should increase my project with the addition of an adjacent shopping mall (about another 70 acres).
By adding the shopping mall to the stormwater park, I not only increased the depth of this project, but
I also created an opportunity to filter stormwater on an adjacent site before directing it to the storm-
water park. Revitalizing this mall was also of utmost importance, and I achieved that by creating a
town center with a classic main street feeling and a central square for community events. After
researching LID principles, I began to realize that the relationship between the built environment and
the natural environment was necessary and had great potential to be a beautiful connection.
Approaching this stormwater park in a more holistic approach allowed me to more fully understand
the importance of stormwater design and also created a richer project.
The reason I chose to do a project in Merritt Island is that I am from Rockledge, FL, which is just
across the Indian River Lagoon. I have lived in Brevard for the entirety of my life and have developed
a deep passion and love for the area. I hope that with the design of this project I am able to accomplish
a stormwater park that is as beautiful and well-loved as it is functional. Additionally, I have a strong
passion for environmental education and I believe that this park would serve well as an outdoor class-
room for local schools and students.
State of Florida
Site, Merritt Island, Florida
At the time of its establishment in 1855, Brevard County was a vast land of "oaks, palms, and pines
flanked by a clean, pristine lagoon" (Brevard County). Once the last of the Native Americans were
driven out in the 183os, Brevard remained mostly untouched by human development. According to
John M. Eriksen:
"By 1900 much of the U.S. had already been transformed by man's inventions... But the industrial
revolution bypassed Brevard. Overlooked in a world of change until the dawn of the twentieth cen-
tury, the county finally welcomed the developers and speculators riding the iron horse in search of
new land and opportunity. Suddenly, intensive fishing and hunting, new roads and ditches, drainage
canals, lands cleared and fertilized for agriculture, experiments with exotic plants, and the dredging of
inlets causeways, parks, and mosquito control cause indelible alterations to the environment. In the
relatively brief 50 years between 19oo and 1950, the seemingly timeless balance of the county's eco-
systems had been tipped to serve man. The county's resources begged for respect and intelligent man-
agement during the post war boom"
Unfortunately, these "intelligent management" practices were not put into place, as seen with the
heavy development along SR-520. The seemingly blatant disregard for stormwater management has
created flooding problems for businesses in Merritt Island and has caused the county government to
disallow any new development or redevelopment along this crucial highway.
Merritt Island is a barrier peninsula and a low land mass more than 30 miles long; bordered on the
east by the Indian River Lagoon, on the west by the Banana River Lagoon, on the north by Mosquito
Lagoon, and on the southern end, where two small peninsulas have formed, is Newfound Harbor. The
water body adjacent to the
stormwater park is Sykes Creek, which is a part of the Indian River Lagoon. Merritt Island is rarely
more than ten feet above sea level and rarely no more than half a mile wide (History of Brevard
County). Before the land was developed for commercial and housing projects, it was covered in citrus
groves, pineapple fields, and boggy marshes. According the U.S. Soil Conservation Service Soil Survey
of Brevard County, published in 1974, the site for the Merritt Island Storm Park is partially submerged
Based on the background and history of Merritt Island (both ecologically and
culturally), these are some of the objectives I wish to address throughout the project:
Stormwater: It will be necessary to ensure that the stormwater returning to the Banana River
Lagoon and aquifer is properly cleansed/ filtered. Appropriate plant life will be an indispensable por-
tion of this project. It will also be just as important to understand soil types. Additionally, ensuring
that proper and educational signage (pertaining to stormwater management) is bountiful throughout
the park is necessary. Additionally, it will be necessary to understand retention/detention holding ca-
pacities. It is important the retention and detention areas are functional at both high-water levels and
Wildlife: The Indian River Lagoon is an estuary and serve as habitat to an array of diverse and
unique species. The wildlife of the Lagoon will most likely, to an extent, overflow into the Merritt
Island Stormwater Park. Safety will be an issue. It will be critical that humans will be able to view but
not disturb all wildlife on the site, including the less threatening species. Wildlife also presents oppor-
tunities for viewing stations and educational signage. Bird watching, once the most popular pastime in
the United States, will also be given a large role in the Merritt Island Stormwater Park.
Soil: Soils will become an important objective in the process of designing this park. Identifying soil
types will be crucial, as well as understanding how site-specific soil types function. It will be necessary
to know whether or not the soil can support proper stormwater drainage and whether or not it will
need to be enhanced. Erosion of soil could also be an issue, so the possibility of any structures that
would prevent erosion (i.e., retaining walls) should be examined in detail.
Program Elements: Required and desired program elements will also play a large role in how this
park takes shape. It will be required that there is emergency vehicle access, including access for fire
trucks and paramedics. It will be necessary that turning radii are the appropriate size and that there
are stabilized areas for the vehicles to drive on. Emergency phones will also need to be placed
throughout the park. ADA compliance will be required, as will public amenities such as restrooms.
Moreover, any safety features for desired program elements will be taken into account. Desired pro-
gram elements could include the following: boardwalks along the river; parking for all users; signage;
lighting; walking trails; site furnishings, such as benches, trash cans, bike racks, water fountains, etc;
an amphitheatre; shelters, picnic areas, and/or BBQ grills; and a playground.
Cultural Elements: In addition to program elements, it is important that the cultural identity of
Merritt Island is preserved throughout, but especially in the town center area of the park. Merritt
Island is rich in history and the connection of the people to the water is a great element to play with in
the design of the park
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CITY OF SEBASTIAN
* Example of reclaimed water treatment in
Central Brevard County
* Tremendous amount of wildlife:
attracts birders, photographers, and eco-
* Received grant from the Florida Wild-
flower Association to plant wildflowers
along banks of wetlands
* 4-cells that "maintain differing water
depths, reflecting diverse wetland condi-
* Littoral zone to assess wetland health and
* The water in this park is filtered and then
sent to the Indian River Lagoon; this project
decreased freshwater flow into the Sebastian
River and helped restore optimal salinity
levels in the estuary
* Sebastian's existing storm drainage system
is inadequate for either flood control or ad-
dressing the impacts of stormwater runoff on
the Sebastian River or the Indian River
* Reduces pollutants entering the Sebastian
River and the IRL.
* Passive recreation, such as hiking and pic-
* Educational signage throughout
* Wildlife habitat
RITCH GRISSOM MEMORIAL
In a suburban area
Larger, but not so much larger that
it's irrelevant (loo acres)
t ~* Boardwalks
Interpretive nature center
Enjoyable and educational
GREEN CAY WETLANDS
BOYNTON BEACH, FLORIDA
WINTER HAVEN, FLORIDA
This project in Winter Haven, Florida,
was chosen as a relevant case study be-
cause it maintains the stormwater of the -
city of Winter Haven. Although at a --
smaller scale (about one quarter the size
of Merritt Island Stormwater Park) it
offers an example of how to deal ith http://www.bcieng.com/stormwater/lake-howard-stormwater-par
stormwater in an urban setting, project.html
Natural Resource Concerns: Human Resource Concerns:
Stormwater management Program Elements (Required and desired)
(treatment and quality) Safety
Wildlife Cultural Elements
Indian River Lagoon
Continued research, further development of knowledge of site and stormwater design.
Create a functional and aesthetically pleasing stormwater park that is for public
enjoyment and education, in addition to the adjacent town center that offers not only
shopping, restaurants, office space, and residences, but also a great place for
Finalizing master plan.
Stormwater Retention Design/Engineering, Management, Interpretation,
User Analysis (demographics- from GIS and 2000 Census)
Detailed Inventory, Analysis, and Synthesis
Architectural Style: Classic Main Street style with a coastal flair
Stakeholders and Special Interest Groups:
Students from local schools/ Brevard County School Board
Brevard County Natural Resource Office
Environmentally Endangered Lands Program of Brevard County
PROGRAM ELEMENTS IN TOWN CENTER
Shopping, dining, office space, residences/condominiums
"Classic Main Street" style, added Coastal Flair
Central Plaza with multi-functional spaces to provide for community and cultural
Treatment of stormwater runoff in an efficient and artful manner
Celebrating Water throughout the Town Center
LID principles throughout the Town center
Parking and options for Parking Garage(s), if necessary
PROGRAM ELEMENTS IN STORMWATER PARK:
Connections to Surrounding Land Uses
Site Furnishings (benches, trash cans, bike racks, water fountains, etc)
Emergency Vehicle Access
W M3 ^Im 11 o INI U0 4013a 0 000 1
KEY ELEMENTS OF LOW
SMALL SCALE CONTROLS:
MIMICS NATURAL HYDROLOGY AND
-CUSTOMIZED SITE DESIGN
ENSURES EACH SITE HELPS PROTECT hp .
THE ENTIRE WATERSHED
PREVENTION, AND EDUCATION
REDUCES POLLUTANT LOADS AND
INCREASES EFFICIENCY AND
LONGEVITY; EDUCATED AND IN- .
VOLVES THE PUBLIC
l....... DIRECTING RUNOFF TO
http://ww. fundforlakegeorge.org/ind NATURAL AREAS
ex.asp?lg=l &w=pages&r=30&pid=32 ENCOURAGES INFILTRATION AND ht:lw/w.duboishmeste.org/improve.n.sO&htffd
RECHARGE OF STREAMS, WETLANDS,
PRESERVES NATIVE TREES, VEGETA-
TION, AND SOILS; MAINTAINS NATU-
RAL DRAINAGE PATrERNS.
http://..st adshippartne.o/progidhtrn WETLAND VALUES
S:habitat for commercially valuable fish and shellfish
.,Jr groundwater recharge
improved water quality
The UF SEEP (Stormwater Ecological
Enhancement Project) offers a great
example for my stormwater park to be
modeled after. The aesthically pleasing
curvature of the retention pond
provides opportunities for diverse
habitat. The SEEP also allows for
increased treatment time so that the
water is filtered properly before being
released. The SEEP is what I modeled
my stormwater basins after (to an
extent), including forebays, weirs, and
The expected benefits of the SEEP are
the same expected benefits of the -
Merritt Island Stormwater Park:
Information about the SEEP was
Pictures of the SEEP were found at:
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This plan was also useful in showing where existing pipes are. Pipes will be useful i
Finally, this plan is useful in understanding the stormwater context of the area.
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This Pre-Development Drainage Basin civil engineering plan from Bussen-Mayer Engi-
neering Group was useful in showing several things. Importantly, it shows spot
elevation, which was useful in determining the general watershed and which direction
tended to flow (a general south-eastern direction).
This plan was also useful in showing where existing pipes are. Pipes will be useful in
this project for moving water from all areas in the drainage basin to the stormwater
park, as not everything will be daylighted.
Finally, this plan is useful in understanding the stormwater context of the area.
Engineering Group, shows where will be coming from and where it
will going. The lime green color shows the drainage basin that will be directed to
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This Post-Development Drainage Basin civil engineering plan, also from Bussen-Mayer
Engineering Group, shows where stormwater runoff will be coming from and where it
will going. The lime green color shows the drainage basin that will be directed to
Merritt Island Stormwater Park. This drainage basin is approximately 170 acres. The
amount of proposed stormwater retention in Merritt Island Stormwater Park is
approximately 23 acres.
The beige area is a drainage basin that will be directed to the "Alum Pond" directly to
the west of Merritt Island Stormwater Park. This drainage basin is approximately 193
acres, and no approximate acreage for the "Alum Pond" is given.
Taking the information given by the civil engineering plan into account, I designed a
stormwater park that has ample room for runoff. The "Alum Pond" could even be
removed, as my proposed stormwater basins have the capacity to hold about 240 acres
of stormwater runoff.
These plans were crucial for my design, and I would like to thank Mr. Mayer for
allowing me to use them.
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LEGEND: ADJACENT LAND I
MERRITT SQUARE MALL
15~ *;X~#.4 7 5A9A
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SCio Canaveral-anelote complex
| Turnbull & Riomar Soils
Complex, limestone substratum
EXISTING SOILS DICTATE PLANT PALETTE FOR REVEGETATION
ECOSYSTEMS THAT THESE SOILS ARE
FRESHWATER MARSH & PONDS
FLORIDA COASTAL STRAND
FLORIDA FLATWOODS SCIR
From: 26 El Cs in SCIRPUS AMERICAANUS,
From: 26 Ecological Communities in Florida AMERICAN BULRUSH
NYSSA SYLVATICA, ILEX CASSINE, 2004 Ftadfe c
BLACK GUM DAHOON HOLLY
'RESTORATION AND THROW UGHO UT THE TOWN CENTER
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MIXED USE: RI-.TAII. BELOW, ()FFIC[L.S/
RESIDI-NC LS ABOVE
PARKING STRUCTURE WITH GREEN ROOF
(()cNSER\ ATION AREAS
STORMWATER RETENTION BASINS
COLLECTED IN THE
I BIOPLANTERS AND PIPED
S I TO THE "RIVER" AND MOVES
SIN A GENERAL SOUTHERN
DIRECTION TO THE
STORMWATER PARK, WHERE
IT MOVES THROUGH A SERIES
INDIAN RIVER LAGOON.
i WATER MOVEMENT
I ^ GREEN SYSTEM
.LE: 1" = 1oo'-oA"
The main goal of the Town Center is to revitalize the area by clearing the existing mall and creating a new, comfortable town center.
Additionally, creating a sense of place was of utmost importance. This was achieved through the classic main street style. To keep the same
language of the area, a coastal flair was added to the architectural style. Another crucial element of the town center is the central plaza area.
This area is ideal for community events, live music, and small festivals. The box stores are ba sed off the existing box stores, with the addition
of Whole Foods. The Sears is a recycled box store, meaning that it was kept in the same position it was before. Of course, it would have
renovations to the outside to match the character of the town center. The mixed-use development is primarily retail below and offices above.
The condominiums have great views of the river and the stormwater park, as well as access to the existing condominiums and the town center.
The parking structure has a green roof, and acts as a template should other parking garages be needed. Additionally, all of the parking lots
are very green and contain bioswales that help filter runoff before it is piped to the water conveyance system.
MIXED USE: RETAIL BELOW, OFFICES/
CON D MINI'MS
PARKING STRUCTURE WITH GREEN ROOF
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CENTRAL PLAZA, SCALE: 1/64"=1'-o"
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CENTRAL P-IAZ_,A_ SECT'ION, SCALE: 1/32 = 1" "
PARKING STRUCTURE WITH GREEN ROOF,
SCALE: 3/32"= 1'-o"
PARKING LOT, TYPICAL, SCALE: 1"=20'-o"
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TYPICAL STREET SECTION,
SCALE: 1/16"= I'-o"
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TYPICAL BUILDING ELEVATION, SCALE: 1"=20'-o"
TYPICAL STREET SECTION, SCALE: 1"=10'-o"
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---EXISTING RETENTION POND
EXISTING APARTMENT COMPLEX
E IREX'EGETATED AREAS
STORMRXATER RETENTION BASINS
The main goal of Merritt Island Stormwater Park is to properly and efficiently treat
stormwater from the drainage basin, as shown earlier in the civil engineering plans. The
green space in the town center helps direct runoff into the stormwater park, as does the
water conveyance system. Water first comes to #1, a 3.5 acre forebay with marsh-like
qualities. The water is then piped under the road to #2, a 6.8 acre holding pond. Then,
through a series of weirs, the water moves into stormwater basins #3 and #4, 118.4 acres and
112.2 acres, respectively. The water bodies are contoured to provide habitat, and the edges
are vegetated, mimicking UF's SEEP. Park elements include parking, an education center, a
picnic shelter with deck and restrooms, and a large playscape. The park is to be revegetated
with the plant palette listed previously.
PARKING LOT & RETENTION BASIN 3,
NYSSA SYLVATICA, BLACK GUM
ACI.R RI fRI .I RFD MA.\PI.I
MAIN ROAD, SECTION, SCALE: 1"=6o'-o"
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GAZEBO OVER WATER, SECTION, SCALE: 1"=4o'-o"
OSMUNDA CINNAAMOMEA, CEPHALANTIUS OCCIDENTALIUS OSMUNDA REGALIS, ROYAL FERN SCIRPUSAMERICANUS,
CINNAMON FERN BUTTONBUSH AMERICAN BULRUSH S
A^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^IB u~ ^^BA
TREE SWINGS, SCALE: ='-
TREE SWINGS, SCALE: 1"=io'-o"
CRESTED CARACARA SIGN
PARK AMENITIES, SCALE: 1'=3o'-o"
I lAP A
U.S. Soil Conservation Service Soil Survey for Brevard County
Eriksen, John M. Brevard County: a history to 1955. Florida Historical Society Press: Tampa, Fla,
Parrish, Ada Edmiston; Field, A. Clyde; Harrell, George Leland. Images of America: Merritt Island
and Cocoa Beach.
Arcadia Publishing: Charleston, SC, 2001.
Shofner, Jerrell H. History of Brevard County: Volume 1. Brevard County Historical Commission:
Stuart, FL, 1995.
Louv, Richard. Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. Chapel
Hill, NC: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2005.
Smith, Jared A. South Brevard Wildlife Corridor. Brevard County, Florida. Senior Independent
Tracey, Schneider. Florida Wildlife Hospital and Sanctuary: Brevard County, Florida. Senior In-
dependent Project, 2002.
Stone, Elaine Murray. Brevard County: from Cape of the Canes to Space Coast. Northridge, CA:
Windsor Publications, 1988.
Livingston, Eric H. Stormwater Management: a Guide for Floridians. Tallahassee, FL: Florida De-
partment of Environmental Regulation, 1990
Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge: Draft Comprehensive Plan and Environmental Assess-
ment, Brevard and Indian River Counties, Florida. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of the Interior,
Fish and Wildlife Service, Southeast Region, 2008.
East Central Florida Regional Planning Council. Florida General Soils Atlas: Soil Suitability as
Habitat for Wildlife. Winter Park, FL: East Central Florida Regional Planning Council, 1975-1981.
An Overview of the Indian River Clamming Industry and the Indian River Lagoon: a Collection
of papers prepared in connection with the Brevard County Clam Industry Workshop held September
7, 1985 at the Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Florida. Ed: Derek Busby. Gainesville, FL:
Florida Sea Grant Extension Program, University of Florida, 1986.
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