Mary Elizabeth Branch Park has been awarded a SITES designation from the U.S. Green Building Council. SITES is a comprehensive rating system for developing sustainable landscapes; it’s akin to LEED certification for buildings. Designed by Design Workshop, the 3.5-acre Branch Park earned the designation for a number of green features, including:
·Supporting Sustainable Water Use: The rain garden is lushly planted with native species that can tolerate dry summer months and the wet fall and spring seasons. The rain garden treats the majority of storm water from the park site, allowing the storm water to slow down and percolate into the soil before it goes into the city storm sewer system.
·Accommodating All Generations and Dogs: Branch park is designed to be multi-generational and multi-functional, incorporating seating options, shaded areas, viewing gardens, open spaces conducive to informal games and a playground. The park allows all community members to enjoy the space simultaneously. Additionally, the dog run allows for dogs and their owners to interact with one another in a leash-free zone with convenient pet waste bags, disposal systems, and dog drinking fountains.
·Integrating Interactive Waterscapes: The interactive waterscape is woven seamlessly into the design, allowing the water to seep, spray and mist out of the stonework. Interactive buttons allow people to activate certain features. In the winter, when the water is shut off, this space becomes another plaza in the park, allowing for year-round use.