Gateway To Milwaukee
Press Release

The Gateway to Milwaukee and partners break ground on Urban Orchard

A collaborative effort has formed to address urban flooding and storm drainage concerns while beautifying an otherwise unused space

By - Oct 16th, 2014 10:36 am

A collaborative effort has formed to address urban flooding and storm drainage concerns while beautifying an otherwise unused space. In October landscape professionals from around the city will gather to watch and learn as this unique parking lot and urban orchard are installed in a vacant lot at South 6th Street and Norwich Ave. The parking lot is an eco-friendly answer to the flooding problems that plague the KK river watershed and an example of how this community and others can prevent to storm water overflow. The orchard will provide access to healthy food and contributes to a food hub started by UW-Extension and the Garden District Neighborhood Association community gardens to the North.

The Orchard will be comprised of native fruit trees and plants. All food, produce and honey harvested from the site will be used in educational opportunities for the community, donated to local food pantries and will contribute to the sustainability of The Energy Exchange. The orchard will also provide opportunities for people of all ages to learn about local urban agriculture and environmentally conscious urban planning.

The parking lot will be made of a permeable material that will allow the rain water to drain into a bio-swale which slows the flow of water and naturally removes pollutants. The lot will house a 1600 sf natural bio-swale filtration system and 15700 sf of clean water storage for orchard irrigation. It will keep approximately 1,993,085 gallons of water out of city sewers yearly. The installation of this new system of storm water management provides an opportunity for contractors and building professionals to learn about these new developments in green construction.

On Friday Oct 10th, construction, landscaping, and urban design professionals gathered for a hands on training on the new techniques being used in the construction of the permeable parking lot and orchard. The first stage of construction will finish for the season in November and pick-up in the spring when planting and finishing touches will be completed. By the summer growing season the Garden District will have a new orchard ripe with educational possibilities for the community, complete with easy access echo-friendly parking, and newly educated developers ready to share these green construction techniques with neighborhoods throughout Milwaukee. This project is supported by a grant from the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District and is a collaboration between the Energy Exchange Inc., Milwaukee County, the City of Milwaukee DPW, NIDC, the Garden District Neighborhood Assn., and The Gateway to Milwaukee.

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