At the MWMO, all of our projects are designed to protect water quality and habitat, but some have the added benefit of looking amazing. Such is the case with the Fourth Street Guild, who received an Action Grant from our Stewardship Fund to help rebuild their parking lot and landscaping.
The Fourth Street Guild is a woodworking cooperative that recently relocated to North Minneapolis. Their new neighborhood is currently an industrial area, but Matt Sand, a guild member and co-owner of Rogue Arc, LLC, sees it moving in a new, greener direction. As heavy industry moves out and away from the river, Sand expects more eco-friendly development to take over.
“The neighborhood is changing,” Sand said. “We want to be here the whole time.”
The guild hired Rogue Arc to remodel their new space (including the lot), and Rogue pushed to make the design as green as possible. In 2014, with help from a Planning Grant from the MWMO, they worked with an engineering firm to design a new stormwater-absorbing landscape. With the new designs in hand, they successfully applied for an Action Grant, which helped fund the construction.
The guild’s new landscape is designed to reduce the amount runoff leaving the site by an estimated 55 percent. Stormwater is managed and cleaned through a series of best management practices — permeable pavement in key locations in the parking lot, a large raingarden with native plantings, and sleek cisterns that will hold water for use during dry periods.
The cisterns are connected via underground pipes to the front yard, allowing overflow to discharge directly into the raingarden. (Previously, runoff from the roof discharged from downspouts onto the sidewalk.) Spigots allow guild members to tap into the cisterns whenever they want, and Sand said he would eventually like to install a graywater system inside the building to use water from the cisterns there as well.
Being skilled artisans, Fourth Street Guild members added some of their own artistic flair to the landscape. A new deck seating area extends out over the raingarden, allowing guild members and visitors to enjoy what will soon be a blooming garden of pollinator-friendly native plants. A contemporary paint job on the building’s exterior adds another nice visual touch, making the cisterns and plants pop. Inside the building, new skylights and LED lighting help conserve energy.
Altogether, construction costs totaled more than $150,000, of which the MWMO Action Grant funded nearly $50,000. Asked why the guild decided to go above and beyond to manage its stormwater runoff, he said it’s simply the right thing to do.
“We want to build green,” Sand said. “Water is life.”
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