The Town of Tecumseh won a sustainability award.

Director parks and recreation services Paul Anthony presented council with the Wege Small Cities Sustainability Best Practices Award from the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative at the council meeting Tuesday night.

The Award for Stormwater System Improvements in Lakewood Park was presented in person to Anthony and councillor Tania Jobin at the Annual General Meeting in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, June 4-7.

“When we purchased the land for Lakewood Park we had a vision for what it could be for the Town,” said Tecumseh mayor Gary McNamara. “Many people don’t realize the dual purpose the Park has. Here we have a major stormwater protection resource hidden in one of our beautiful parks. This award recognizes the work we have done to protect the environment, implement sustainable practices and demonstrate stewardship in everything we do.”

The Wege Small Cities Sustainability Best Practices Award recognizes a small Cities Initiative member city in Canada or the U.S. working to protect the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence and improve the quality of the water resource for future generations.

The award encourages environmental stewardship for projects that balance economic, social and environmental aspects within the community that could be used as a best practice for other cities.

The project submitted by the Town was ‘Lakewood Park and Stormwater System Improvements’. It resulted in the creation of a natural and sustainable stormwater management solution for Lake St. Clair within the boundaries of the Park.

Lakewood is a naturalized park area that incorporated construction of a new stormwater pumping station, improvements to the existing shoreline, revitalization of approximately 70 acres of park land and construction of a 640 m natural stormwater channel.

Town officials say the end result is a unique place for the community that protects the surrounding area from overland flooding from the lake and during high volumes of rainfall.

“Lakewood Park is not just a jewel for the Town with respect to recreation opportunities and facilities,” said Anthony. “It serves double duty as a place to store excess water during high volume rain events as it is released in the surrounding ground and pumping station. This project allowed us to respond to the effects of climate change with a beautiful natural area that can be used year round.”

The award includes a $5,000 prize which will be used to fund dedicated benches along the multi-use trails in the park. Within the Park itself, the Town has also used grant funding to install a Disc Golf Course, Adult Exercise Equipment, a climbing rock and paved multi-use trails.