FamilyWise Stormwater Improvements

A series of Stewardship Fund Grants helped install innovative stormwater features at this social service nonprofit's University Avenue offices.


Project Details

City: Minneapolis

Type: Mini Grant, Planning Grant, Action Grant

Status: Active

Timeline: 2015-2019

MWMO Funding: $3,000 Mini, $6,800 Planning, $50,000 Action

Partners: Daugherty Business Solutions; FamilyWise Services; Landscape Architecture Inc.; Toro Foundation

Staff Contact:
Nancy Stowe
Projects and Outreach Director
Email Nancy Stowe
View Bio

Over the course of several years, FamilyWise Services undertook the development of a comprehensive landscape master plan for the entire property. Goals included improving green spaces, fixing parking lot degradation, and revamping the on-site playground. The MWMO has awarded three separate Stewardship Fund Grants to help fund the improvements at the site.

Starting small with a Mini Grant, FamilyWise installed a raingarden near their front door in 2015. The project included removal of impervious areas of sidewalk and stairs. The raingarden infiltrates stormwater that runs off of the adjacent 3,200-square-foot parking lot, and which used to flow directly into the stormsewer on University Avenue. By capturing this runoff, the raingarden improves local water quality, eliminates nuisance puddles at the building’s main entrance, and reduces stress on the city’s stormwater infrastructure.

In 2017, an MWMO Planning Grant was utilized to design additional stormwater improvements in more detail. The planned improvements would allow them to manage a larger volume of water and also fix some a number of problems with parking on the site. The solution selected for the site will be installed in 2019 with the help of Action Grant funding.

FamilyWise’s western parking lot has an old house foundation beneath the pavement, which has caused issues with settling over time. The Action Grant project will remove this foundation and replace it with an innovative material in stormwater management: tire-derived aggregate (TDA). TDA has been used for years within the road construction industry, but has seen limited use in stormwater applications. At FamilyWise, the roof drains and parking lot runoff will be redirected to this large volume of underground TDA and allowed to infiltrate. The capacity of the TDA will allow for management of nearly a 100-year rain event for the drainage area.

Through all Stewardship Fund grants, the project has included educational benefits for daycare staff, children, families and volunteers through interpretive signage, newsletter articles, social media postings and the chance to try their hand at gardening during maintenance.