Sunrise Pump Station

Sunrise Pump Station is a new water pumping station situated on ten acres of public open space along the Ohio River. The pump station prevents water from backing up into the City of Evansville when flood gates are closed on the Ohio River levee. Before the pump station was built, the site was home to Sunrise Park, one of Evansville’s most loved and well-used playgrounds. The playground was reaching the end of its life-cycle, and the city was prompted to build a new pump station on the existing pipes under the park.


Evansville Water and Sewer Utility

Project Size:


Evansville, IN



Completed in 2023


Landscape Architecture

In Association With:

Donohue Associates



Working with the design team, we facilitated stakeholder meetings with city officials and multiple public meetings to gather “big ideas” for the future of the playground and Evansville’s riverfront. We developed a plan that established a series of recreational rooms along the levee: children’s playground, skatepark, court sports, and spray park. A riverfront greenway links all the spaces and offers panoramic views of the Ohio River. The greenway departs the levee at a new river overlook plaza and leads you to Sunrise Pump Station.

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Rather than build a windowless gated pump station, we challenged the city utility to invite the public to the space and educate them about this critical infrastructure. The pump station and its grounds are a celebration of water. The new pump station includes the necessary 40 million gallons-per-day pump system, a water quality laboratory for city utility staff, and public event space with educational exhibits. Outside, the spray plaza offers an opportunity for kids of all ages to play in water. Rain gardens collect run off from the rooftop events deck and demonstrate green infrastructure applications for everyone.

The project is slated for ENVISION certification, a distinction earned through the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure.

“The Sunrise Pump Station and Cascade demonstrate how environmental solutions can coexist with community spaces, transforming utility sites into sought-after downtown destinations... It’s an example of what we can achieve when we come together as a community.” Lane Young, EWSU Executive Director, upon receiving the 2023 AIM Community Placemaking Award

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