Highbridge Anchor Park Revitalization

As part of the NYC Anchor Parks initiative, the historic Highbridge Park was selected to undergo a major $30 million revitalization, providing a stabilizing central gathering space in Upper Manhattan. Improvements to the iconic 130-acre, 2.2-mile park were completed in two phases, providing upgraded park accessibility, improved circulation and pathways, new and renovated playgrounds, a synthetic turf ballfield, new comfort stations, and restoration of the historic Grand Staircase at Laurel Hill terrace.

McLaren provided civil engineering, structural engineering, and geotechnical engineering services for two phases of capital improvement projects at the park. Design is complete and construction is currently underway.

Highbridge Anchor Park Pre-Construction

The McLaren Difference

To improve connectivity and accessibility, McLaren engineered the reconstruction of approximately 4,400 LF of pathways as well as construction of a new park entrance. The entrance plaza now includes a reduced pressure zone (RPZ) valve for all water service. Grading improvements were implemented to redirect stormwater into a natural discharge gradient, with overflow into the existing NYCDEP combined sewer system.

Drainage and permitting plans were developed by McLaren, locating new and existing catch basins and maintaining the existing drainage conditions as much as possible to avoid tree impact.

Structural Engineering

Existing Staircase Prior to Revitalization

McLaren also provided structural engineering services for the restoration of the historic Grand Staircase at Laurel Hill Terrace. Previously closed off to the public, the team helped restore access to this iconic structure by providing ADA accessibility and stabilizing the stone walls and edging. The structural scope of work included an assessment of the existing staircase, rubble masonry walls, and stone treads and parapet, as well as development of repair recommendations and construction drawings.

Structural assessments and repair recommendations were also provided for various other structures throughout the park, including a 1,200 linear foot retaining wall and a brick wall in the Adventure Playground area.

Park Revitalization Phase II

Civil Engineering…services were provided for the redesigned Adventure Playground and Sunken Playground, a new synthetic turf soccer field, and a new comfort station. McLaren provided drainage design and water supply for both playgrounds, and coordinated utilities for the comfort station to ensure water service during all phases of construction. The drainage design for the turf field included details for the underdrains and a bioretention basin, to meet state environmental requirements.

Geotechnical engineering…services were provided for the foundations of the comfort station and a retaining wall adjacent to the synthetic turf soccer field. This work included inspection of borings and production of a geotechnical report with recommendations for foundation design. McLaren also supervised the field investigation and prepared field reports, coordinating boring logs and all lab testing and preparing specifications. The results of the subsurface investigation were coordinated with the structural engineers for the design of both structures.

Permitting…approvals included a NYCDEP Sewer Connection Permit, a temporary backflow prevention device and meter permit for the reconstruction of Adventure Playground to keep the Park water system in operation during construction, a new RPZ permit for the turf field area, and Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP).