The Chesapeake Bay Trust and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded a $95,000 grant to the District Department of the Environment in partnership with the District Department of General Services to create a “green” street on downtown’s O Street NW.
Called Green’O’vation, the project will be built along O Street between 1st and 3rd streets NW for storm water management.
Chesapeake Bay Trust and EPA officials announced the grant at the site of the new Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, on O Street NW, which is due to open this fall. After the new school opens, demolition of the old Dunbar High School and construction of the green street adjacent to the new school will begin.
The project is scheduled for completion by spring of 2014, according to Molly Alton Mullins, spokesperson for the Chesapeake Bay Trust.
O Street was closed between 1st and 3rd streets when the old Dunbar High School was built in the 1970s. “This project will reopen O Street as a rain garden of over 6,000 square feet,” says Mullins.
The Green’O’vation project involves planting 39 street trees and 900 shrubs. The trees will be planted in large, partly underground treeboxes built on the neighborhood street. Stormwater from sidewalk and road is collected in the boxes. The stormwater is filtered through the plant media before being slowly reintroduced back into the storm system, preventing localized flooding.
Mullins says the Chesapeake Bay Trust likes to work with science and mathematics classes in local schools to incorporate green projects like this into the curriculum as teaching tools. However, the decision to do so is left to each school.
The new Dunbar High School is being built to a LEED platinum-certified standard with several sustainable elements, including geothermal heat pump, two 20,000-gallon cisterns for reusing rainwater and use of natural daylight.
The Green’O’vation grant is part of a total $400,000 in funding that was distributed to six other municipalities and nonprofit organizers through the Green Street, Green Jobs, Green Towns Initiative to provide help to communities in urbanized Chesapeake Bay watershed areas.
Other grant recipients were Cambridge, Md., $75,000; Northumberland, Pa., $30,000; Low Impact Development Center in Forest Heights, Md. and Bladensburg, Md., $70,000; Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, for Richmond, Va., project, $95,000; and Prince George’s County, Md., $35,000.