$10,000 Grant will enhance Seward Co-op’s stormwater raingarden

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A $10,000 grant has been awarded to Seward Redesign Inc. to further develop a rainwater garden system at the newly constructed Seward Co-op Grocery and Deli 2823 East Franklin Avenue by Xcel Energy Foundation. The project was begun with earlier support from the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization and Co-op’s own site redevelopment budget.

Seward Co-op’s project partners are Seward Redesign (a nonprofit community development corporation) and Seward Civic and Commerce Association. The quantity of stormwater kept from storm sewers will be greatly lessened as it is diverted to the four separate garden beds designed with the landscaping expertise of Russ Henry of Giving Tree Gardens.

Russ Henry developed the gardens at the Co-op’s property eight blocks away at 2111 East Franklin, and welcomes the opportunity to beautify and enhance this site as well with nearly twice the available space. In addition to the benefits of collecting stormwater the gardens bring natural beauty amidst the sprawl of surrounding asphalt streets and driveways and provides small oases for wildlife like birds to use.

The co-op’s system is designed to capture and cleanse 100 percent of the critical runoff — the first 10 minutes of a rainfall event resulting in the highest concentration of pollutants and causing an initial peak increase in waterways.

The project includes efforts to educate the public about storm water capture through tours of the rain garden, descriptive signs and articles in community newsletters. The next formal garden tour/class will be at the Co-op Saturday September 12th.

More details of Russ Henry’s gardening practice are available at givingtreegardens.com.

Xcel Energy Foundation’s grant-making and corporate giving are focused in four areas: economic sustainability, education, arts and culture, and the environment. The foundation will award $380,000 in Minnesota environmental grants this year. More than $4.25 million will be awarded in the four areas throughout Xcel Energy’s service territories. For more information visit Xcel’s website and click on Community and Foundation.

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