Project Creates Walkable Space, Roundabout, Rain Gardens and New North County Park
Beyond Housing<http://www.beyondhousing.org/>, a community development organization focusing its revitalization efforts in St. Louis’ 24:1 Community, has begun construction on a $5.6 million project that will transform a half-mile stretch of Pasadena Avenue in Pine Lawn and Northwoods in North St. Louis County. Through a Rainscaping Large Grant, the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District’s MSD Project Clear<http://www.projectclearstl.org/> initiative has committed up to $3.1 million to the project. The 24:1 Community Land Trust<http://www.beyondhousing.org/community-land-trust> has committed the remaining up to $2.5 million.
Known as the Heart of Pine Lawn/Northwoods Point, this storm water management and beautification project will create a walkable space with sidewalks and a median along Pasadena Avenue, with a new roundabout where Pasadena, Sylvan, Fairchild and Oxford Streets meet. Previously, children walking to school along Pasadena Avenue to Barack Obama Elementary had to walk in the street. After this project is completed the children will have a safer place to walk to school.
The MSD Project Clear Rainscaping Large Grant will pay for the construction of nine bioretention basins and several rain gardens. The basins and rain gardens will replace hard impervious surfaces – such as cement and blacktop – that generate storm water runoff into area wastewater sewers. During moderate to heavy rains, storm water runoff can overwhelm wastewater sewers and cause basement backups and sewer overflows into area creeks and streams. Rainscaping – which is using any combination of plantings, water features, catch basins, permeable pavements, and other activities to manage storm water as close as possible to where it falls, rather than moving it someplace else – is a cost effective and multifaceted means of protecting wastewater sewers from excessive storm water runoff. In turn, protecting sewers from excessive storm water runoff helps alleviate basement backups and sewer overflows.
“This is an exciting time to be a resident of Pine Lawn,” said Terry Epps, Mayor of Pine Lawn. “First Beyond Housing turns the old Garfield school into their beautiful new headquarters, and now they are partnering with MSD to create a safe and appealing place for our children to walk to school, while alleviating storm water issues at the same time. We are grateful to be partnering with Beyond Housing and MSD to make this project happen.”
“We here in Northwoods are excited to be included in this project,” said Rev. Everett Thomas, Mayor of Northwoods. “Our residents are looking forward to strolling down a beautiful and safe Pasadena Boulevard.”
MSD Project Clear is a generational initiative to improve water quality and alleviate wastewater problems throughout the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County. As part of an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, MSD Project Clear will invest $4.7 billion over 23 years to address sewer overflows and basement backups throughout MSD’s service area. A component of this agreement – and part of the $4.7 billion investment – calls for $100 million in rainscaping projects.
“For Beyond Housing, this is about place-making,” said Chris Krehmeyer, CEO and President of Beyond Housing. “We began with building a new assisted living center for our seniors at Vetter Place. Now we’re bringing it full circle by creating a safe and beautiful space for the children of this area to walk to school at Barack Obama.”
“MSD Project Clear’s involvement in the Heart of Pine Lawn/Northwoods Point project is another example of how MSD strives to develop win-win solutions with community stakeholders,” said Brian Hoelscher, MSD’s Executive Director and CEO.
“The Rainscaping Large Scale Grant Program is an effective means of achieving positive outcomes in local communities, while simultaneously solving wastewater sewer issues. In the case of the Heart of Pine Lawn/Northwoods Point project, Beyond Housing and MSD Project Clear will help provide area children with a safer and more pleasant walking route to school. At the same time, the rainscaping will help shield wastewater sewers from excessive storm water runoff, which, in turn, will protect our community from sewer overflows and basement backups.”
Work began in July and is expected to be complete by Summer of 2018.
Beyond Housing is a nationally-recognized community development organization working in a defined geographic area – the 24 municipalities that make up the Normandy Schools Collaborative in North St. Louis County.
MSD Project Clear is Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District’s initiative to improve water quality and alleviate many wastewater concerns in the St. Louis region. MSD Project Clear will invest billions of dollars over a generation in planning, designing, and building community rainscaping and system improvements, along with an ambitious program of maintenance and repair and the disconnection of some residential downspouts in parts of St. Louis County’s separate sewer area from the wastewater sewer line. This work is an agreement between MSD and the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
The St. Louis region’s success with MSD Project Clear will only be possible through strong partnerships and clear communication with the public.
To learn more about the MSD agreement with EPA, please visit
www.stldmsd.com/aboutmsd/organization/consentdecree<http://www.stldmsd.com/aboutmsd/organization/consentdecree>. For more information on MSD Project Clear, visit ProjectClearSTL/org or follow us on Twitter @ProjectClearSTL.
Created in 1954, the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District (MSD) works every day to protect the public’s health and the natural environment through effective wastewater and stormwater management strategies.