Victory Pointe Park
Clermont, Fla.

Owner: City of Clermont
Contractor: Oelrich Construction Inc.
Lead Design Firm: GAI Consultants Inc.
Structural Engineer:  TLC Engineering Solutions
Electrical Engineer: Clear Engineering LLC

Only 10 acres in size, Victory Pointe Park re-envisions the conventional approach to stormwater management. Configured in three zones, the park includes an upper-level settlement pond that gradually releases stormwater into a series of cascading marshes, where native plants and other natural processes gradually clean the water. The stormwater is ultimately conveyed into a vegetated meandering stream that feeds Lake Minneola, a state-designated impaired water body. The park also includes a waterfront zone with a beach for swimming, flexible open space, a multistory observation tower and elevated trails with benches and interpretive signage.

The need for an upgraded downtown stormwater management facility was reinforced throughout construction as work was beset by a series of major rain events, including a hurricane. As the park site was a natural wetland, some areas had muck deposits up to 36 ft deep. Saturated soils required several months of dewatering before being dry enough to haul, while timber-pile roadways and incremental grading were needed to safely access the site.

The project team monitored the water table and, when needed, pumped out the area to make the ground solid enough to install foundations for the observation tower, bridge and boardwalks that wind through multiple retaining ponds. Even then, a larger crane was required to drive large timber pilings into the unstable soil.

Meanwhile, the team had to carry out work on both sides of the South Lake Trail. Signage advising pedestrians, runners and cyclists of changes in direction and work activities was posted well in advance so that they could adjust their training schedules accordingly.

Nature dealt the project one last challenge in the closing weeks, drenching Clermont with several downpours that tested the landscape team. Aquatic plants were replaced with new varieties that could handle submersion in deeper water, while sod on steep slopes was pinned down to counteract early washouts. The project provided an innovative approach to safeguarding the environment as well as a complementary new events venue that will help attract future downtown development.

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