Breaking Ground on New Green Infrastructure Projects in the Watershed

Here at the MWMO, the vast majority of our annual budget goes toward green infrastructure projects — landscape features that capture, treat and/or reuse stormwater runoff. This is the time of year when our projects begin to break ground, and we’ve got an exciting slate of projects lined up for 2019.

We’ll be providing updates throughout the year on the progress of our projects — via our website, our email list and social media channels. In the meantime, here’s a snapshot of all the stormwater management and habitat projects we’re planning around the watershed.

2333 Jackson Street ‘Smart Blue Roof’ System

A rendering of the planned 2333 Jackson Street "JAX Apartments" building.

Capital Project Grant – Northeast Minneapolis
MWMO Funding: $203,100
Partners: Civil Site Group; DJR Architecture Inc.; Hanging Gardens; Holland Neighborhood Improvement Association; Yellow Tree

This new multi-family housing development in the Holland neighborhood, known as “JAX Apartments,” will host an innovative “smart blue roof” system that marries multiple stormwater treatment methods with smart sensor technology. Water that falls on the building’s roof will flow in several ways: one portion of the roof will drain into an underground cistern; another portion will serve as a “blue roof” that holds stormwater on the rooftop. This captured stormwater can either be allowed to evaporate over time or drained into one of two locations: an underground re-use tank, or a green roof planted with native plants. Smart controls that incorporate real-time weather data will intelligently manage the flow of water from one part of the system to the others, ensuring that the re-use tank is always full and the green roof is always watered.

See the drainage map for the building’s roof. (PDF, 0.5 MB, 1 page)


East Side Storage and Maintenance Facility BMPs

A rendering of the City of Minneapolis – Public Works East Side Storage and Maintenance Facility.
Capital Improvement Project – Northeast Minneapolis
MWMO Funding: Up to $550,000
Partners: City of Minneapolis; EVS, Inc., Metropolitan Council; HCM Architects; Floodplain Collective

The City of Minneapolis has broken ground on its newest public works facility, and the MWMO is funding a variety of green infrastructure at the Northeast Minneapolis site. A combination of above-ground and underground BMPs are planned for the facility. Green infrastructure like raingardens will treat runoff from portions of the building’s roof, while an underground infiltration pipe gallery will capture and remove pollutants from other collected runoff at the site.

You can read more on our project page.


FamilyWise Underground Infiltration System

The parking lot at FamilyWise.

Action Grant – Prospect Park/Towerside
MWMO Funding: $50,000
Partners: FamilyWise; Hennepin County; Landscape Architecture, Inc.

This social services organization will build a unique underground infiltration system beneath its parking lot along University Avenue. The innovative system, which will used tire-derived aggregate (TDA) instead of traditional crushed rock, will infiltrate stormwater runoff from the building’s roof and west parking lot (pictured above). The TDA consists of recycled tire material and is locally produced; it is hoped that the TDA system will maximize storage and infiltration capacity as well as phosphorus treatment. The new treatment system will complement an existing raingarden that was built in 2015 with MWMO Mini Grant funds.


Fourth Street SE Landscape for Habitat

An aerial view of the recently reconstructed Fourth Street SE between TCF Bank Stadium and Towerside.

Capital Improvement Project – Prospect Park/Towerside
MWMO Funding: $400,000
Partners: City of Minneapolis

The City of Minneapolis recently reconstructed Fourth Street SE between TCF Bank Stadium and the Prospect Park Light Rail Station. The MWMO is providing funding for landscaping in the boulevards — trees and plants that will provide habitat, shade and stormwater management. The project will create a green corridor between the University of Minnesota’s East Bank campus and Towerside, The MSP Innovation District. Towerside has agreed to take on the responsibility of caring for and maintaining the landscaping, utilizing water from the Towerside District Stormwater System.


Islamic Cultural Community Center Raingardens

The Islamic Cultural Community Center in Northeast Minneapolis.

Action Grant – Northeast Minneapolis
MWMO Funding: $49,928
Partners: Board of Water and Soil Resources; City of Minneapolis; Hennepin County; Islamic Cultural Community Center; Metro Blooms

Also known as Masjid Al-Huda, the Islamic Cultural Community Center will receive a green makeover this year, with a redesigned parking lot that will infiltrate stormwater runoff into a series of raingardens. The existing parking will be reoriented to make way for the raingardens, which will be planted with native perennials. The main entry will also be rebuilt with permeable pavers.

This project is part of the Northeast Business Corridor initiative in partnership with Metro Blooms and supported by the Board of Water and Soil Resources.

See the new landscape plans. (PDF, 2.8 MB, 5 pages)


Juxtaposition Arts Skate Park Raingardens

Juxtaposition Arts "skateable art plaza" rendering.

Action Grant – North Minneapolis
MWMO Funding: $50,000
Partners: City of Skate; Juxtaposition Arts; University of Minnesota Department of Landscape Architecture; West Broadway Business and Area Coalition

Juxtaposition Arts (a.k.a. “JXTA”) plans to construct a “skateable art plaza” on a vacant lot at the intersection of West Broadway and Emerson Avenues. MWMO funding will be used to construct raingardens abutting the skate ramps. These raingardens, which will be connected by concrete swales and trench drains, will capture and treat the majority of the site’s stormwater runoff. Youth apprentices from JXTA’s workforce development program, JXTALabs, will assist in the installation, planting and programming at the park. Interpretive signage will also be installed to educate visitors about stormwater and water quality issues.


Kasota Ponds Buckthorn Removal

Mini Grant – St. Paul
MWMO Funding: $3,000
Partners: Minnesota Native Landscapes; St. Anthony Park Community Council

The Kasota Ponds are a small chain of wetlands along Kasota Avenue on the border of St. Paul and Minneapolis. The St. Anthony Park Community Council has taken an active role in protecting and maintaining the wetlands, which are home to a variety of birds and other wildlife. The MWMO awarded the council a Mini Grant to remove a large swath of  buckthorn  and begin establishing perennial native vegetation at the site. Professional landscapers will mow down  mature buckthorn, while community volunteers will remove  smaller buckthorn plants in the area.

We recently shot some video of contractors using a forestry mower to take out buckthorn at one of the ponds. You can view it above or on our YouTube channel.


Masjid An-Nur Raingardens

An aerial view of Masjid An-Nur mosque.

Action Grant – North Minneapolis
MWMO Funding: $50,000
Partners: Masjid An-Nur; Metro Blooms; Northside Residents Redevelopment Council

The oldest organized Muslim community in Minnesota, Masjid An-Nur has resided at its Lyndale Avenue North location since 1996. This summer, the MWMO is providing funding for this North Minneapolis mosque to build a new stormwater-friendly landscape. Designed by Metro Blooms, the landscape will consist of a 10-raingarden treatment train that will redirect runoff from the mosque’s parking lot away from the building. The project will solve persistent drainage problems for the mosque, as well as improve accessibility and beautify the property. The raingardens will be filled with native plants, providing pollinator habitat as well as stormwater treatment.

See the new landscape plans. (PDF, 4.6 MB, 11 pages)


Minneapolis Apprenticeship and Training Center BMPs

A rendering of the planned Minneapolis Apprenticeship and Training Center.

Action Grant – North Minneapolis
MWMO Funding: $50,000
Partners: Hennepin County; Metropolitan Council; Neighborhood Hub; Northgate Development; Northside Residents Redevelopment Council; Renewable Energy Partners; Rogue-Arc

The first piece of a major redevelopment effort along Plymouth Avenue, this new workforce development center will be outfitted with a series of raingardens to treat stormwater runoff from the building’s roof and parking lot. New gutters, stormpipes and underdrains will convey dirty runoff that is currently flowing into the alley and street and infiltrate it into the ground instead. The design is intended to manage the majority of the property’s stormwater runoff on site. It will also introduce new wildlife habitat in an area that is currently lacking in green space.

See the new landscape plans. (PDF, 0.5 MB, 3 pages)


North Columbia Golf Course BMPs

Map of Columbia Golf Course drainage area and stormwater BMPs.

Capital Improvement Project – Northeast Minneapolis
MWMO Funding: TBD
Partners: Applied Ecological Services; Board of Water and Soil Resources; City of Minneapolis; Hennepin County; Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board; SRF Consulting

One of our largest capital projects over the next two years will be the installation of a series of stormwater best management practices (BMPs) at the Columbia Golf Course and Columbia Park in Northeast Minneapolis. (You may have already read about this project in the newspaper or seen it on the evening news.) Actual construction is unlikely to begin until 2020, but we’ll be working closely with the City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board on the planning and design processes, as well as assisting with outreach to the community.

The improvements at Columbia Park/Columbia Golf Course are part of the larger Northeast Stormwater Management Initiative, which includes plans for other future projects such as tree trenches on residential streets in Hoyer Heights. You can sign up here to receive email updates about the golf course project and other projects that are part of the initiative.


NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center

A rendering of a filtration basin at NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center.

Capital Project Grant – North Minneapolis
MWMO Funding: $350,000 Grant; $33,250 Feasibility Study
Partners: Aune Fernandez Landscape Architects; Collaborative Design Group, Inc.; Hennepin County; NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center; Pierce Pini & Associates.

An MWMO grant will help this expanding health care center build a unique, stormwater-friendly landscape. A series of infiltration gardens will be constructed to manage stormwater from a portion of the new building, the plaza, and new parking lot. These infiltration gardens soften the urban character of the plaza with native vegetation. In particular, Tamarack trees will be planted, providing a visual connection to Minnesota’s waters as they grow readily in northern Minnesota’s wetlands. As designed, the infiltration gardens will remove 99.1 percent of the total suspended solids from their drainage areas, as well as 70.8 percent total phosphorus annually.


St. Anthony East Neighborhood Association Raingarden

Community Commons Park.

Mini Grant – Northeast Minneapolis
MWMO Funding: $3,000
Partners: St. Anthony East Neighborhood Association

Community Commons Park is a small green space owned by the St. Anthony East Neighborhood Association (SAENA). The neighborhood has identified a need for a raingarden to manage runoff at the property, along with several other planned improvements to the site. The MWMO is providing Mini Grant funding for the raingarden. As part of the grant, SAENA will provide education for the neighborhood about watersheds, the benefits of raingardens and about actions we can all take to protect lakes and rivers.


Water Works

Water Works concept design. (Courtesy Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board)

Capital Improvement Project – Downtown Minneapolis
MWMO Funding: $900,000
Partners: Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board; Minneapolis Parks Foundation

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board will soon break ground a new park along the Mississippi River. Water Works is a 6-acre park development project within Mill Ruins Park in downtown Minneapolis. It will be located along the west bank of the Mississippi River, just north of the Stone Arch Bridge. The MWMO is funding a stormwater reuse system that will collect and treat roof runoff from the existing rooftops of adjacent buildings. This water will be used for irrigation at the Water Works site and toilet flushing in the pavilion.

You can learn more on our project page.

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