Gresham Smith-Designed Streetscape Project Honored by Greater Dallas Planning Council

December 1, 2020

Gresham Smith is proud to announce that the City of Ennis’ historic streetscape improvement project was honored by the Greater Dallas Planning Council as the Urban Design Award Built Project Winner. The first phase of a multi-phase master plan, the firm partnered with the City and MESA landscape architects to re-establish downtown Ennis as a shopping, dining and entertainment destination. Gresham Smith’s engineers designed the site, utilities and water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure to create a safe, walkable streetscape that preserves the city’s history while serving as a roadmap for future development.

“Our team is proud to have helped the City revitalize the historic district to create a place where residents and visitors can enjoy all the town has to offer,” said Tim O’Brien, P.E., ENV SP, Vice President at Gresham Smith. “It’s exciting that the Greater Dallas Planning Council recognizes the project team’s efforts to preserve the historic downtown’s warmth and charm while incorporating the evolving infrastructure and technology advancements of today’s modern cities.”

Deep below Ennis’ turn-of-the-century streets, its 100-year-old infrastructure needed numerous upgrades. The team ultimately replaced the City’s old clay sewer and cast iron water piping systems with 2,300 linear feet of stormwater pipe, 4,400 linear feet of wastewater pipe and 6,500 linear feet of water pipe.

In addition to below-grade improvements, the Gresham Smith team also turned the existing streets—which were originally constructed for horse-drawn carriages—into a walkable, ADA-compliant, curbless streetscape that vastly improves the pedestrian experience. Microscale grading plans, adequate drainage and ample stormwater collection will minimize the risk of localized ponding and flooding when it rains.

The city now hosts various civic events, festivals, and street markets in the dynamic downtown environment, including the Bluebonnet Trails Festival, Autumn Daze, Lights of Ennis, and Bluebonnet Market. The increase in these events’ attendance has led to increased revenue for the vendors and downtown businesses.

The Greater Dallas Planning Council’s annual Urban Design Awards program recognizes projects and individuals for excellence and leadership in urban design and planning. For many years, the GDPC has identified local leaders and organizations in planning, engineering, architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design for their achievements and inspiration to the communities in the Greater Dallas region.