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Rain Garden Redo

By now you may have noticed that the rain gardens installed along Elmwood Avenue are already on their way out, or are being updated. The design that was introduced turned out to be a poor example of what should have been a victory for Green Streets Buffalo. The garden wells were too deep and posed a danger to passersby, and they also became a dumping catch-all for litter. While the rain gardens were a good idea, they were poorly executed in this case – from poor soil mixtures to water retention issues to wrong plant choices. That does not mean that program will be snuffed out though, instead it looks as if  we will see another version of the rain garden design installed in most cases.

Thankfully, this was only one small part of a series of the Green Streets infrastructure improvements that have been introduced by The Buffalo Sewer Authority and Riverkeeper. “The installation and planting of the rain gardens last fall was deemed to be a failure based on their functionality over the winter and spring,” said Carly Battin, Executive Director Elmwood Village Association. “We’ve been working with the Sewer Authority for several months and did two surveys to gather feedback about plantings and safety. What you’re seeing is the beginning of the next phase of the process. Over the last few days the two gardens outside Pano’s were excavated and new soil was put in. New plantings were installed; the plant choices were based on feedback from the surveys. The other property owners on the street will have a couple weeks to decide whether they want to move forward with the new planting style*, at which point the railings will also be installed.”

*In certain cases where the rain gardens were removed completely (at the behest of the building owner), porous pavers will be introduced. 
Lead image: The original plan for the Green Streets rain gardens

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

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