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Westgate gets city's first rain garden
|Messenger photo by Whitney Wilson Coy
|Westgate Parks’ new rain garden demonstates one of the newest ways to be “green” and protect our streams. The Friends of the Scioto River hope that Westside residents will follow their lead and plant rain gardens of their own.
When it rains, it pours, and some area organizations are encouraging Westside residents to take advantage of that.
Westgate Park is now the proud owner of a rain garden, and its creators hope neighbors will follow their example.
The first of its kind on the Westside, the garden was created as a partnership between the Friends of Westgate Park (FOWP) and the Friends of the Scioto River (FOSR) as a solution to a flooding problem in a low-lying area of the park.
Near the shelter house and a gravel parking lot, the site was soon to become even more of a flooding issue when the City of Columbus paved and expanded the lot and driveway.
“We wanted to show that with these gardens, you can make a bad situation good,” said Kristi Crissinger, FOSR secretary and Westgate resident.
Instead of the “sheet drain” system that was slated for the area, FOSR suggested a rain garden as a way to capture the runoff.
A rain garden is a strategically located low area filled with perennial plants meant to intercept runoff water, usually from a structure or paved surface.
Crissinger explained that with nothing to catch rain water runoff, it flows down streets, picking up oil from cars and other pollutants that can be found on roadways. Eventually, that water makes its way into our streams.
“Wetlands filter out impurities and make stream water cleaner,” said Crissinger. “It’s the newest thing in conservation for storm water.”
FOSR is on a mission to educate the public about rain gardens and had been looking for a city park where a garden would fit.
“I said I knew of a good one,” said Crissinger.
After a presentation to the Greater Hilltop Area Commission in the spring of 2008, planning and construction began. The project was completed by the end of July and, according to Crissinger, has done a great job of absorbing water from the summer rains.
“After we got that big rain in July, the water was all gone within two hours after the rain,” she said.
“People need to know about the benefits of a rain garden,” Crissinger said, adding that homeowners should consider placing one in their yards, in an area away from any foundations.
The garden in Westgate was funded by FOSR and FOWP. Both organizations were able to put up funding because of community donations and grant money.
Future maintenance on the garden will be handled jointly by the two groups.
For more information on rain gardens, visit www.sciotoriverfriends.org.
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