May 04, 2012 Neil Benjamin Jr. Uncategorized
The town of DeWitt applied for two grants a while back from the Save the Rain Green Infrastructure program run through Onondaga County.
“We weren’t expecting to get them, really,” said Jim Conlon, director of zoning and planning for DeWitt.
Turns out, the town got both through the Save the Rain program, which announced Wednesday it was giving away $3 million to towns in the eastern suburbs.
DeWitt got two sizeable grants. It received $219,000 for a project in Franklin Park and $123,000 for the Park Hill Green initiative. Baldwinsville received the most money, $492,023 for a Bioretention project to reconstruct a street.
The news happened so fast, Conlon said he only found about the grants when the Eagle Bulletin put in a request for comment.
“I was very surprised,” he said. “This is a huge plus for the town because we got these two big grants that will help deal with rainwater runoff.”
The entire program gives 12 communities money for 14 total projects. In June, this will go in front of the county legislature for approval. This is an extension of dozens of projects within the city over the past year. The Department of Water Environment Protection was the group which started the work in getting money from the county.
The task is to capture around 250 million gallons of storm water via the use of green infrastructure by 2018, which helps the environment in many ways.
“It’ll reduce what flows into Onondaga Lake,” Conlon said. “Plus, we’ll be able to reuse the water in ways like washing our car, among others.”
He said that chemicals, trash and many other things that aren’t good for the lake flow into it each year, and that the initiative will stop a large percentage of that from happening.
In Franklin Park, Conlon said, approximately 800 rain barrels will be distributed to 400 homeowners who will put them around their properties and allow the rain water to collect. Part of the grand also funds a tree planting initiative, and that should have about 250 new trees planted. Conlon said residents will be taught about how to plant a tree, as well as where.
“We want to make sure they plant them where it won’t interfere with piping or anything underground,” Conlon said. He added: “The tree planting will help suck up some of the water, so it’s another win.”
In Park Hill Green, the neighborhood will be planting about 100 trees in the greater Park Hill neighborhood. It’s also looking to put in a water quality infiltration system “designed with underground perforated piping.”
Conlon said securing the grants wasn’t all his doing.
“It was a team effort all-around,” he said. “It’s a plus for the town. It’ll help beautify our town and also Onondaga Lake.”
County Executive Joanie Mahoney, in a press release, commented on how she felt about the project.
“The expansion of the Save the Rain program into suburban towns and villages is great news for our community,” she said.
Neil Benjamin Jr. can be reached at email@example.com.