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Science and the Environment
News covering policy and issues related to city and county governments in the Ozarks.

City Parking Lots to be Redesigned to Reduce Stormwater Runoff

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Montgomery County Planning Commission
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flickr

The public and employee parking lots near the Busch Municipal Building in Springfield are getting a makeover.  But the changes won’t just improve traffic flow.  They’ll also help the environment.  KSMU’s Michele Skalicky has more.

Construction on the lots, just east of the Busch Municipal Building, will begin in the middle of next month.  It’s part of a grant-funded project to demonstrate ways of reducing the amount of stormwater runoff and pollution that reach area streams.

The City’s environmental services water quality coordinator, Carrie Lamb, says they’ll replace the pavement with pervious pavement, which allows rainwater to soak into the ground.  They’ll add rain gardens and bioswales--shallow depressions in the ground designed to catch stormwater runoff and filter out any pollutants.

"The idea is to reduce the amount of runoff leaving the site and also to filter the runoff through the plants and the soils, so it's a natural filtration process," she says.

The City of Springfield partnered with the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks on a grant application in 2011.  They received the Stewardship Project Grant, dubbed “Big Urbie” and have been working together on various projects, including this one, which Lamb says will be in a highly visible location.

"We really wanted to do this project because it is right outside our front door here at the city offices, so it's a great opportunity for us to demonstrate these types of practices to the community," she said.

Public parking, including handicap spaces, will remain available near the Busch Building throughout the project.

Construction is expected to be completed in November.

Lamb says parking will be improved when the new lots open back up.  Spaces will be rearranged for better traffic flow.

The $1.1 million Big Urbie Grant was awarded by U.S. EPA Region 7 through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources under section 319 of the Clean Water Act.

The required 40 percent match is being provided through in-kind staff time from the City and grant partners and City matching funds from the 2006 Parks/Waterways Sales Tax dedicated for lake, waterway and stream improvements.

To learn more, bigurbie.org.