Grant will protect Lake St. Clair from parking lot runoff

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published April 2, 2014

 An example of a rain garden that will be installed to capture runoff from the new porous parking lot at Kyte Monroe Park.

An example of a rain garden that will be installed to capture runoff from the new porous parking lot at Kyte Monroe Park.

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — By the summer of 2015, the parking lot at Kyte Monroe will be going green.

The city of St. Clair Shores, along with the city of Detroit, received a grant through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative from the Environmental Protection Agency.

With St. Clair Shores’ proximity to the lake, Mayor Kip Walby said it’s very important to keep pollutants from getting into Lake St. Clair.

The grant, announced at an event held at the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments offices in Detroit March 27, will help with just that.

The $250,000 Great Lakes Shoreline Cities Green Infrastructure Grant, along with a local match of $250,000 — approved by City Council in the fall — will pay to construct a 21,000-square-foot porous pavement parking lot at Kyte Monroe Park with 3,000 square feet of rain gardens. The area will have the capacity to treat 100,000 gallons of rain runoff during each storm, or about 90 percent of the rain events in the city.

Currently, the gravel area drains directly to Lake St. Clair through the city’s storm sewer system. The new parking lot and rain gardens will capture the water and reduce the amount of sediment, pollutants from vehicles and fertilizer draining into Lake St. Clair.

This first green infrastructure project in the city “will demonstrate our commitment to helping (keep) Lake St. Clair clean,” Walby said.

St. Clair Shores Department of Public Works Director Bryan Babcock said the city applied for the grant in the fall, which is when City Council approved the matching funds. The match will be paid for out of the stormwater utility fund, City Manager Phillip Ludos said.

Babcock said the project will be designed with help from Environmental Consulting and Technology over the course of the summer and fall of 2014, and they hope to start construction in the spring of 2015.

“It’s good for our water,” Babcock said. “The rain gardens and the porous pavement — it naturally traps pollutants that normally would go straight into Lake St. Clair.”

Kyte Monroe is one of the city’s most heavily used recreational complexes.

The city of Detroit also received a Great Lakes Shoreline Cities Green Infrastructure grant to clean and “green” 40 vacant lots on the city’s lower east side and to manage 32 acres of stormwater runoff using bioswales and rain gardens. Its grant is for $1 million, with a $1 million match being paid for by the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation and the Kresge Foundation.

“Green infrastructure is one of the many ways to use that vacant land,” said Erb Family Foundation President John Erb. “We are a Great Lakes city. This will bring in the focus that we are part of the Great Lakes.”

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