2011-Present. Development of project concept; community outreach; funding research; site layout and design; budget and implementation oversight; project management; education and assessment oversight.
Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed; Diversified Data; MAD Scientist and Associates; Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District; Neighborhood residents Ms. Van Til, Mr. Drake, Mr. Malcolm J, Ms. Desenberg; Oakland Nursery; Wagenbrenner Group.
The OUR Water (Olentangy Urban Rainscapes) pilot project is installed at five residential properties on Hamlet Street in Weinland Park. The purpose of this project is to show how, by incorporating raingardens in a neighborhood appropriate landscape design, residents welcome the opportunity to take personal ownership of being stewards of the watershed where they live and to educate our larger community about water management practices.
In order to plan and design the project Integrity spent months engaging neighbors about the project at various meetings in the community – civic association, housing committee, and the health and wellness committee. We learned about the wonderful diversity of people in Weinland Park, the care and respect each individual is shown, the vibrant courage they show to fight back against urban blight, and to be tested and then welcomed as a neighbor.
We learned they would want more traditional flowers and shrubs, we learned that many do not own the homes they live in, we learned that care shown in a yard reduces littering, we learned there is a vibrant culture of growing in Weinland Park. All this information, and more, informed the design criteria.
We layered in several key components: Pre and post qualitative assessment to gage the way the neighborhood saw water conservation before the project and their views after. Quantitative assessment to gather data on the amounts of water being diverted from the neighborhood combined storm and sanitary sewer system to the ground water table. Education outreach to the larger community about responsible stormwater management and raingarden maintenance. Neighborhood employment. Seasonal maintenance of the newly installed landscape coupled with homeowner education for a year.
Success! You CAN get residential support to join in the fight to combat the combined sewer overflow problem plaguing older neighborhoods in Columbus, you CAN keep roof water runoff on site to recharge the ground water table, and you CAN plan and design a project to meet many layers of need and multiple outcomes.
One of our biggest joys is hearing through a big grin from the neighborhood “Oh! that’s what you were talking about!” coupled with “How can we keep going, how can we get a rain garden in our yard?”
Integrity was invited to speak about this project at the International Eco and MORPC Summits in 2012 and the National EPA Brownfields Conference in 2013.