Rain Barrel Initiative
Rain Garden Pilot Project
Beginning in the spring of 2010, NMRWA designed and installed eight demonstration rain gardens throughout the watershed for little or no cost to the homeowner or municipality. Five of these gardens were installed in the front yards of residential properties, while three were installed in highly visible public places. This project served to demonstrate the myriad of benefits that rain gardens offer, garner municipal and partner collaboration, and give NMRWA a greater sense of preferred rain garden design, installation, and maintenance practices. Furthermore, this project helped to foster a greater understanding of rain garden cost estimating for the launch of StormWorks in 2011. This project was made possible through partnerships with The Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania, Wilkinsburg and Edgewood Boroughs, and dedicated volunteers.
Most notably the Rain Garden at the site of the former Edgewood Train Station, now occupied by Lami Grubb Architects, was installed as part of this project, and continues to serve as an excellent demonstration rain garden for NMRWA and StormWorks. Meticulously maintained by Suzan Lami of Lami Grubb Architects, this rain garden sparks the curiosity of many passers by, and was included in the 2013 Pittsburgh Botanic Garden’s Town and Country Tour. Many thanks to Lami Grub Architects, Edgewood Garden Club, and Edgewood Borough for making this project possible.
If you are interested in installing a rain garden on your property, please visit StormWorks Rain Garden page.
Stone Soup Community Garden
The Stone Soup Community Garden represents on the GreenLinks Programs first collaborative projects. Founded in 2003 on Franklin Avenue in Wilkinsburg – once one of the most violent streets in the watershed. The founders of the Stone Soup Community Garden hoped to create a space of growth and peace in an area too often marked by decay and unrest. This space, though much changed, has existed for over 10 years.
The Stone Soup Community Garden started with a group of community residents removing trash, including appliances and building materials, and weeds from four contiguous lots. Soon, with support from community institutions and hundreds of volunteer hours, the garden space had a fence (made from donated materials), 16 raised beds filled with donated soil and compost, and three children’s plots. Neighborhood children painted panels that still adorn the site. In 2012, in a partnership with the Stone Soup Community Garden, ACTrees and the USDA’s People’s Garden Grant Program NMRWA installed a 11 fruit and nut trees on the site, along with 8 raspberry shrubs and numerous understory herbs. The end of the first season of the orchard was marked by End of Summer Celebration, and the trees continue to thrive on Franklin Avenue.
Wilkinsburg High School Rain Garden
Beginning in the winter of 2011 NMRWA, engaged the students of Wilkinsburg High School’s Key Club to envision a unique green space in a former vacant lot next to the high school. NMRWA directed the students throughout this project by incorporating a series of design charrettes and presentations that emphasized concepts such as green infrastructure, green jobs, and watershed stewardship. The final design, voted upon by the students, included tree plantings, outdoor classroom opportunities, seating areas, and most visibly, a 500 sq. ft rain garden that manages stormwater runoff from the school’s 5,700 sq. ft. parking lot.
For three days in early June, the students, faculty, neighborhood volunteers, and the Nine Mile Run team worked from 7:30am until late afternoon to install the project.
This project was made possible through a grant from the Heinz Endowments Youth Philanthropy Program and a generous individual gift from a member.