The City of Evanston is continuing its dedication to sustainability by including a unique feature in the Church Street construction project: a rain garden.
Instead of just installing tree grids along the block, City of Evanston Senior Engineer Sat Nagar said that installing a rain garden would be more in line with Evanston's sustainability efforts over the past few years.
"With this project, it's time to try new things out; it's thinking out of the box," Nagar said.
This rain garden will improve sustainability in Evanston by increasing water quality, filtering water of pollutants before it enters the drainage system. Because rain gardens are simply shallow depressions filled with native plants and grasses, they tend to attract birds and butterflies and overall boost the attractiveness of the surrounding area.
"Basically, the rain garden absorbs all the chemicals; it is a filtration system," Nagar said. "It will filter all the chemicals and all the ingredients that the rain water carries and only let the clean water percolate to the ground."
In April 2010, Evanston residents Judy Pollack, Janis Wesley and Donna Wolf spearheaded the installation of a rain garden in Howell Park. The women found much community support for their efforts, their goal being to provide a model for other rain gardens across the city.
In addition to a rain garden, the current construction in downtown Evanston, which Landmark Contractors is expected to complete by mid-October, will also include a renewed Orrington Plaza, streetscape and bike paths for residents.
At the helm of the Church Street construction planning was Nagar, City of Evanston Public Works Director Suzanne Robinson, City of Evanston Superintendent of Streets and Sanitation James Maiworm and City of Evanston General Planner Craig Sklenar.