Downtown Lancaster’s Ewell Plaza, located across from Binns Park on North Queen Street, is the result of a city initiative to renovate and reinvigorate Lancaster Square. The public space honors the spirit and legacy of local Olympian Barney Ewell and is designed to be a hub of social interaction and community engagement.
The plaza also plays a role in Lancaster City’s investment in green infrastructure and stormwater management — which is why Flyway Excavating was enlisted for the project.
From the beginning, the design of Ewell Plaza was a community-driven initiative, with the city seeking input from residents starting in 2018. Sustainability was an important feature people wanted to see in the project. In addition, the city has been investing in its green infrastructure, guided by Green It! Lancaster, a 25-year plan focused on:
- Improving the water quality of the Conestoga River
- Reducing overflow from the public sewer system
- Making cost-effective decisions for meeting local regulations
- Completing other green initiatives
To help meet the goals of both the public and city, smart stormwater management in the Ewell Plaza project was paramount.
Lancaster City has a combined sanitary and storm sewer system, and heavy rains can overwhelm the system with rushing water, causing untreated sewage to spill into local waterways. Climate change could make these heavy rains more frequent, so urban locations like Lancaster City must prepare.
To reduce stormwater runoff, trees, permeable pavers, bioretention features, and water harvesting components were included in the Ewell Plaza project. One of the largest features is a hidden 122,000-gallon water retention system Flyway built that collects rainwater from the plaza and an adjoining parking garage. This system holds the water, then slowly releases it after a storm is over.
We also constructed a 6,000-gallon cistern connected to the retention system that allows rainwater to be used by trees and other plants. This not only keeps the rainwater out of the stormwater system, but it also reduces the watering needs of the plaza’s vegetation.
The Ewell Plaza project presented several challenges. Flyway started work in February 2022, a month behind schedule because contractors were using the plaza space as they completed the adjoining parking garage.
The biggest challenge, however, was managing lead times for materials and planning other work during those waiting periods. Our staff and subcontractors worked together to keep things moving, and with clear communication between the Flyway field crew, its subcontractors, and the various materials suppliers, the plaza came together seamlessly — and a month ahead of schedule.
The plaza opened in September 2022, and a bronze statue of Barney Ewell was dedicated that November. The success of the Ewell Plaza project is a testament to the thoughtful planning of the Lancaster City community and the hard work and commitment of each construction team member. Flyway was proud to partner with the city to provide a beautiful, sustainable space for the community to embrace the spirit and culture of Lancaster for many years to come.