Aug 18, 2023 – Hampton broke ground Friday morning on the first of three innovative resiliency projects designed primarily to reduce the impact of flooding on the area around Newmarket Creek.
“These projects aim for innovative ways to manage stormwater and flooding, and they create multiple benefits for the community,” Mayor Donnie Tuck said.
In the project kicked off today, Lake Hampton will be transformed from a simple retention pond into a nature habitat that provides trails and recreation, reduces flooding, and filters polluted runoff.
“Stormwater is a major – and increasing – source of pollution to our rivers and the Chesapeake Bay,” said Peggy Sanner, Virginia Executive Director for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. “Designing infrastructure that will meet current and future environmental conditions should – and I argue must – incorporate green elements that will function like the natural environment to reduce polluted runoff, mitigate flooding, beautify neighborhoods, and create recreational benefits for communities.”
Hampton is the first locality in Virginia to use the Environmental Impact Bonds as part of the financing. Those “green bonds” appeal to investors who are seeking a return for the environment as well as their financial investment. They come with the city’s commitment to document and share the results. The bonds have helped secure an additional $24 million in grants from state and federal agencies.
“Hampton joined the select ranks of cities like Washington, D.C.; Atlanta; New Orleans; and Buffalo,” said Jason Lee, a director at Qualified Ventures, which facilitated the bond sale. “You’re not just a regional leader in innovative public finance — you’re a national leader.”
Since 2015, Hampton has been committed to the idea that projects should not try to fight the water but work with it, and that such projects should include additional benefits. Lake Hampton resilience park will reduce flooding and pollution by retaining more water and filtering runoff, and will also become a thriving habitat for birds and other wildlife. It will also create a shared use path that will connect to the existing Waterwalk Trail park.
Overall, the three Newmarket Creek projects – Lake Hampton, the elevating of North Armistead Avenue and green infrastructure, and the Big Bethel Blueway – are projected to store and filter more than 8.5 million gallons of stormwater.
“The need for this work is only increasing,” Tuck said. “Resiliency is not accomplished by the City of Hampton alone – we need local, regional, state, and federal partners. We need individual community members to take resilient action and continue to renew their commitment to the future of Hampton.”
You can learn more about Resilient Hampton’s plans here: https://hampton.gov/resilienthampton