By SHERRI KOLADE
HEIGHTS — A new parking lot and several rain gardens are being installed at the Richard A. Young Recreation Center through a state grant to promote ‘green’ activity.
Through the Clean Michigan Initiative Grant for the North Branch of Ecorse Creek, $489,000 in state funds will go to the center, 5400 McKinley St., which is undergoing construction in the front parking lot, Dan Brooks said, a city engineer and administrator of construction with Michigan-based Wade Trim and Associates.
The grant called for the city to demonstrate storm water controls, which included rain gardens and porous pavement for a parking lot.
The center was chosen as part of the grant process by Wayne County and the city.
The nearly 20-year-old parking lot’s current asphalt is being gutted out and will be replaced with a different asphalt mix that is more porous, allowing rain water to seep through and drain more efficiently.
The previous asphalt was comparable to concrete, impermeable to water and vulnerable to cracks when frozen, Dale Lentz, owner of the Michigan-based Antler Construction company, said.
“It lets the water through and goes through stone as well and it dries itself out or if there is excess it goes to the storm system,” Lentz said.
The parking lot construction began April 23 and is expected to be finished by May 19, Lentz said.
“The parking lot will be usable probably the following week,” he added.
Brooks estimates the project should be done by the middle of June.
There are plans to install three rain gardens after the parking lot is completed. One will be installed in the front of the center and two in the back of the center.
The rain gardens will become mini ponds that collect water from the building’s roof.
“You collect all the water on sight rather than putting it in the storm system where it goes to the county or city drains,” Lentz said. “This way all the rain that collects on the roof will go to these rain gardens and where it will sit in these little ponds and any excess does go to county.”
Michelle LaJoice, receptionist for the center, said the project is beneficial for the city.
“I think it is a good thing for the city,” LaJoice said. “I think it is a good thing for us, I think anything that is more energy efficient or helps the environment is great and that is what (the parking lot and rain gardens) are supposed to do.”
(Sherri Kolade can be reached at [email protected])