Kansas City Will Build Rain Gardens With $1.47 Million

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    NEWSLETTERS

    KANSAS CITY, Missouri, August 18, 2008 (ENS) - For a project that features green stormwater infrastructure, such as an underground detention basin, bio-retention cells and rain gardens, the U.S. EPA has awarded $1.47 million to the Kansas City, Missouri Water Services Department.

    The funding will be spent to replace or relocate stormwater sewers, sanitary sewers, and drinking water mains as part of the Beacon Hill Redevelopment Project.

    Beacon Hill covers about 90 acres east from Troost Avenue to Vine Street between 22nd and 27th streets in Kansas City, Missouri.

    Announcing the funding last week, EPA Region 7 Administrator John Askew said, "Reusing water such as stormwater, whether through bio-retention cells or rain gardens, is an effective strategy.These green innovations will help to ensure our water resources and water infrastructure systems are clean, safe and sustainable for our families, children and grandchildren.

    Bio-retention cells and rain gardens are small landscaped, graded areas that are constructed with a special soil mix that can absorb and filter runoff.

    Low maintenance, water-tolerant plants are often used in these rain gardens. These landscaping elements aid in reducing stormwater runoff, removing pollutants and replenishing the aquifer.

    The Beacon Hill project is part of a larger, continuing effort to revitalize the Troost Corridor, one of the most poorest areas in the city, with a 65 percent minority population and a 22 percent poverty rate.

    Beacon Hill was once one of Kansas City's most affluent neighborhoods. With the white exodus of the 1960s it fell into disrepair and property after property was abandoned until the area contained a high concentration of brownfields.

    That trend now has been reversed. The $70 million Beacon Hill Redevelopment Project has added 400 units of new and rehabilitated housing, and the area is reclaiming its old charm with a new vitality as homeowners of various income levels move back into the conveniently located downtown district.

    Beacon Hill now features streetscape improvements, decorative lighting, fountains, a community center, and other creative re-uses of buildings that had been abandoned for decades.

    This $1.47 million grant complements EPA's broader sustainability initiative for Kansas City and will help to reduce stormwater before it reaches the city's stormwater system.

    The project is intended to maximize stormwater infiltration, reduce pollutants from stormwater runoff, improve water quality, and promote plant diversity.

    {Photo: Upgraded home with a garden that absorbs stormwater in the Beacon Hill area of Kansas City, Missouri by Neal Tasch.}

    Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2008. All rights reserved.