Now it also has a distinguished place in history. Earlier this summer, the innovative sculpture and landscaping that surrounds the West Point Treatment Plant earned a place in the National Art Collection of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC.
Best of all, there’s no admission charge to see a piece of art recognized by the nation’s most prestigious museum – it’s free and available for public enjoyment all year long.West Point’s art and landscaping was installed in the 1990s as a mitigation measure for the plant’s federally-mandated upgrade to more stringent secondary treatment standards.
Before the upgrade, this crucial facility was widely considered to be a blight on Discovery Park’s prime beachfront. Today, the plant that protects public health and the environment by treating about 133 million gallons of sewage each day is screened by 7,000 feet of sculptured concrete walls and pedestrian-friendly walking paths that hug the shoreline, melding land and sea through a buffer of native plants. The landscape welcomes people to come and explore the 26 acres of restored shoreline, wetlands and wildlife habitat that had been lost decades earlier when the land was part of a military base.