A nearly one-mile-long street reconstruction project will feature green stormwater infrastructure (GSI), thanks to a $274,729 MWMO grant. The City of Columbia Heights (in conjunction with the City of Minneapolis) is reconstructing 37th Avenue NE between Central Avenue NE and Stinson Avenue NE. MWMO funds will be used to install a series of curbside bioswales and tree trenches that will run the length of the reconstructed roadway. These GSI features will serve to capture and clean the area’s stormwater runoff, as well as fill the boulevards with pollinator-friendly native plants and trees.
The project area extends approximately 5,230 linear feet (0.99 miles) between Central Avenue NE and Stinson Avenue NE. The new design includes a reconstructed roadway with narrowed lanes, a new pedestrian trail along the north side of the road, and newly constructed boulevards. The MWMO grant will facilitate the addition of stormwater treatment and habitat enhancements in the boulevards, which will be planted with a variety of native trees, flowers and grasses. Similar to the nearby Hoyer Heights Tree Trenches project, these features are designed to help reduce flooding in the area while capturing and treating polluted stormwater runoff.
A total of 27 curbside bioswales and tree trenches will be installed along the length of the roadway to treat stormwater runoff from the street, sidewalk and trails. These GSI features will retain phosphorus and other contaminants, thereby improving the water quality discharged via local stormsewers to the Mississippi River. The project is expected to provide an annual total phosphorus (TP) removal of 7.0 pounds and an annual total suspended solids (TSS) removal of 1,860 pounds, almost an acre of native habitat, and 57 native deciduous trees.
The Cities of Columbia Heights and Minneapolis are collaborating on the reconstruction, with the former owning the northern half of the roadway and the latter owning the southern half. The City of Columbia Heights is serving as the MWMO’s grantee. Although a small portion of the project area falls within the Rice Creek Watershed District boundaries, the stormwater treatment benefits will impact communities within the MWMO’s boundaries.
The reconstruction is expected to be completed in 2023.