BMW Manufacturing Donates $1.25 Million to Preserve Wetlands at Unity Park
Spartanburg, S.C. BMW Manufacturing announced today that it will donate $1.25 million to restore and preserve eight acres of urban wetlands at Unity Park west of downtown Greenville, South Carolina. The donation will also support the construction of a series of low-impact boardwalks and overlooks through the wetlands, which occupy the northern portion of 60-acre Unity Park.
“Sustainability is an integral part of BMW’s corporate strategy, and we actively take responsibility to participate in our local community on sustainability initiatives,” said Dr. Robert Engelhorn, president and CEO of BMW Manufacturing. “That is why we are excited about this donation to preserve and maintain these wetlands for future generations. We want to ensure that everyone can enjoy and learn about this unique ecosystem that is in Greenville’s back yard.”
BMW’s donation to Unity Park is the largest received to date by the city of Greenville. Unity Park is a visionary public-private project on the west side of Greenville that will bring citizens of Upstate South Carolina together. The Park includes playgrounds, pedestrian bridges, walking trails, and a welcome center; the restoration of historic Mayberry Park; and the protection and enhancement of the Reedy River.
“Just as BMW has had a transformative impact on the Upstate since its arrival 30 years ago, Unity Park will be a transformative project for the Greenville community,” said Greenville Mayor Knox White. “The city is proud to partner with BMW, a worldwide leader in sustainability, on the restoration of the wetlands at Unity Park.”
“We’re honored to partner with other great companies and individuals in Upstate South Carolina to revitalize an urban community in an attractive and sustainable way,” said Max Metcalf, manager of government and community relations at BMW Manufacturing. “Unity Park will not only bring people together, it will celebrate the diversity of communities in which we live.”
Wetlands serve as a beautiful, natural focal point and are important to the health and prosperity of communities. They help in flood abatement, naturally filter harmful pollutants from water, store carbon and keep it from being released as a greenhouse gas, and provide visitors an opportunity to enjoy diverse plant and animal life while learning about wetland habitats, the species that live there, and the ecology’s importance to our environment.
“The wetlands serve as a critical interpretive and infrastructural feature of the park,” said Kristina Granlund, a landscape architect at MKSK Studios, the Unity Park designers. “Located along the original course of the Reedy River before its channelization, the wetlands offer a glimpse at this forgotten history of the Reedy while showcasing best-in-class green infrastructural systems and habitat restoration.”
Since 1992, the BMW Group has invested nearly $12 billion in its South Carolina operations. BMW Manufacturing is the largest BMW Group plant in the world, producing more than 1,500 vehicles each day and 433,810 vehicles in 2021, a record. The plant exports nearly 60 percent of its vehicles to about 120 global markets. For eight consecutive years, it has been the largest exporter by value in the United States. The model portfolio includes five top-selling BMW X models, four Motorsport X models, and two plug-in hybrid electric vehicle X models. The all-new BMW XM, the first electrified high-performance hybrid model in the BMW M portfolio, will begin production in late 2022. The factory has an annual production capacity of up to 450,000 vehicles and employs more than 11,000 people.