It rids a community of a blighted brownfield. It redistributes rainwater to help prevent flooding. And to boot, it’s a squarely beautiful sight.
Sunday afternoon saw local leaders cut the ribbon on a storm water management garden — a new addition to the Environment and Energy Community Outreach Center
, at the corner of East Liberty Boulevard and Larimer Avenue in the Larimer section of Pittsburgh.
“I wanted to have a show-and-tell place — somewhere where people could see these materials,” says state Sen. Jim Ferlo, D-Highland Park. “You’ll see storyboards explaining why the storm water garden is important.”
The Penn State Center
’s Lisa Vavro designed the park, and the Pittsburgh department of public works handled the construction. The park’s opening coincided with the second annual Larimer Green Street Fair.
The EECO Center, which opened last June on property which previously held an abandoned gas station, offers the community classes, workshops and services designed to help low-income residents in the East End not only be more energy efficient, but save money in the process.
“One of our goals is to build a greener, smarter and sustainable future, and this is a place that people can come and learn about these issues,” Ferlo says.
Storm water runoff is one of the bigger environmental problems facing Pittsburgh, as evidenced by the tragic flash flooding deaths which occurred on Washington Boulevard last year — flooding to which runoff from Larimer contributed.
“Building one garden is not going to mitigate that issue, but as we keep building with public dollars, we need to build smarter,” Ferlo says. “I want this to be a launching pad.”
Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Sen. Jim Ferlo