Anyone who has walked through our parking lot recently has likely noticed that it’s in need of some major repair. There are large potholes, crumbling asphalt, and in the worst spot, a sinkhole. These uneven surfaces are unsafe, and the overall aesthetic is uninviting and doesn’t reflect well on our congregation.
After the capital improvement budget was approved at our June 2015 annual meeting, church staff and our Building and Grounds Committee started looking into options to not just replace the asphalt, but also to make environmentally sustainable improvements in alignment with our church’s values. Adding things like trees and gardens can make a parking lot more inviting and more environmentally friendly – but also more expensive. So, working with a sustainable parking lot designer, we came up with a plan that utilizes rain gardens, silva cells, and bio swales – and then applied for an Action Grant from the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) to help us fund these additions.
We’re excited to announce that our parking lot project is one of only four projects selected to receive funding – and we’ve been awarded the maximum grant of $50,000. Work will be scheduled for the summer months, with exact dates to be announced soon. After it’s finished, our new parking lot will not only be safer and more attractive, it will also capture and slow down 85% of our stormwater runoff, protecting the rivers and lakes around us.
Besides the environmentally friendly design, the MWMO selected us because of our congregation’s commitment to sustainable practices and our ability to communicate rainwater retention methods to the public. This will include interpretive signage around the parking lot promoting the attributes of the design.
Keep an eye out for more information about the project and details about each of the new stormwater management features in upcoming editions of the Weekly Liberal. Learn more about the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization, its other projects, and about stormwater management on their website.