First Universalist Church

An eco-conscious church congregation turned their parking lot into a stormwater management showcase.

Project Details

City: Minneapolis

Type: Action Grant

Status: Completed

Timeline: 2016

MWMO Funding: $50,000

Partners: EnergyScapes, Inc.; First Universalist Church

Staff Contact:

Nancy Stowe
Projects and Outreach Director
Email Nancy Stowe
View Bio

This South Minneapolis church’s new parking lot is ringed with a series of landscape features that capture and treat stormwater runoff. The pavement is sloped in various directions toward a center bioswale and five distinct rain gardens designed to absorb rainwater and snow-melt, filtering out pollutants that would otherwise drain to the Mississippi River.

Beneath a group of newly planted shade trees, a series of silva cells serve as underground rain gardens, absorbing water, reducing soil compaction and providing ample room for the tree roots to grow.

The landscaping is designed to treat up to 85 percent of the property’s stormwater runoff — including from the building’s roof. An underground drain pipe conveys runoff from the rooftop to one of the rain gardens. Meanwhile, the trees in the bioswale area will help intercept and absorb rainwater, as well as provide shade for vehicles in the parking lot and increase the lifespan of the asphalt.