By Danielle Coots
For the Gazette
BELLBROOK — The Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Parks District recently completed the renovation to the parking area to include a rain garden, bio-swales, and permeable pavers which added more than 1,000 Ohio native plants, shrubs and greenery.
The project is meant to reduce erosion on the Little Miami River. The funds were partially afforded by a grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, under the provisions of the Surface Water Improvement Fund.
The design of the three newly added components works in conjunction with one another to filter the rain water that collects on the parking lot and filtrates to the Little Miami River.
A well-constructed rain garden is defined by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency as being “a shallow depression that has deep-rooted native plants and grasses used to absorb rain water. Storm water runoff from developed areas increases flooding potential and carries pollutants from streets, parking lots and lawns into local water sources, in this case, the scenic Little Miami River.”
The project also contained the replacement of the pavement and implemented oil interceptors and trench drains to give the parking lot a new look including additional green space. The project provided for 742 square feet of permeable pavement, 2,700 square feet of bio-filtration islands, 3,135 square feet of community rain gardens, 3,200 square feet of vegetative infiltration greenery for a grand total of approximately $148,612.
“Depending on the size and scale, the project cost for materials can be nominal and worth the investment given the benefit to our community,” Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Parks Executive Director Jeff Stewart said. “The hope is that community members, developers and neighborhood groups will be able to visit the site and use components of the site to replicate similar rain gardens throughout the community.”
The parks district planted plants that have proven to adapted to the climate and wildlife of the area.
Bellbrook is in climate zone 6, which means the plants can survive ground temperatures no colder than 5 degrees and can sustain harsh rains, hail, and wind and return from year to year. They attract pollinators such as insects, butterflies, certain birds and mammals to help spread the pollen and seed other areas. This provides a balanced system to nature.
“Rain gardens were first used in Maryland in 1990s to deal with non-point source pollution threatening the Chesapeake Bay,” Greene County Master Gardener Jerry Haun said. “Storm water flow can carry pollutants such as fertilizers, pesticides, petrochemicals, pet waste, grass clippings, leaves, yard debris, trash, dirt and debris from roof, lawns and driveways, rubber and heavy metals from times, etc.” By implementing a rain garden, it ensures the filtration of rain water to a larger pool of natural water sources for cleaner water and cleaner communities.
The average cost of developing a 12 X 16 rain garden for residential use is approximately less than $500, when doing it yourself. This price includes the purchase of native plants, rocks, mulch, and soil. If hiring a professional, the cost is approximately $15-$20 per square feet.
For design ideas and advise on creating a rain garden, visit the Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Park District Headquarters located at 2751 Washington Mill Road. For additional information contact the Parks District at 937-848-3535
Danielle Coots is a freelance writer for Greene County News.