Sunday, June 15, 2008

A charming little rain garden shines on Mt. Washington

May 21, 2008

A charming little rain garden shines on Mt. Washington

A lovely little rain garden has showered a once blighted corner on Mt. Washington, a splash of green that its creators’ hope may become a catalyst for sprinkling similar projects around Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh’s Burt Hill dreamed up the idea pro bono as a way to expand the firm’s professional knowledge and investigate emerging environmental technologies for urban water runoff, explains Evaine Sing, graduate landscape architect. The project has become a labor of love on a 2,000 square foot parklet on the corner of Shiloh Street and Virginia Avenue.
Mt. Washington Community Development Corp., URA Mainstreets Pittsburgh Fund and Pittsburgh Public Works have assisted along the way and $10,000, labor and material donations were contributed by community members and local businesses including Shemin Nurseries and KMA/Landscape Forms.
“We wanted a project of our own that would work as a test kitchen for other projects and be a living example for our clients,” explains Sing. “We choose this site across from the CDC because we saw the potential for educating passersby on these sustainable methods.”
The park was subdivided into small ecosystems and plants were selected for their ability to absorb water and pollutants during rainstorms. Bioretention beds and vegetated swales will allow the garden to drain within 2 days, helping to absorb and prevent storm water runoff, explains Sing.
Other touches will include lighting, a plaza space, benches, stepping stones made from the recycled pavers, an electrical outlet for future concerts and a mural that will be created by Cory Bonnet.
“We’d love to see this kind of space happen more often in Pittsburgh, like 10,000 Rain Gardens in Kansas City, which has had an amazing impact on water quality and flooding,” adds Sing. “We hope the idea will spread.”
Writer: Debra Smit
Source: Evaine Sing, Burt Hill; Greg Panza, MWCDC

Image courtesy Burt Hill
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