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.”