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"The Zumbro River Starts Here" Tell Your River Story at the Free Family Fun Day at the Rochester Art Center

  • Date: 02/03/2018 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
  • Location: Rochester Art Center
    40 Civic Venter Drive SE
    Rochester, Minnesota 55904
  • Introduction: The public is invited to celebrate the Zumbro River at “The Zumbro River Starts Here,” a special WinterFest Free Family Fun Day at the Rochester Art Center.

“The Zumbro River Starts Here”
Tell Your River Story at the Free Family Fun Day at the Rochester Art Center

Megan Moeller, Public Works Communications Coordinator (507-328-2436 or email Megan)
Stephanie Hatzenbihler, Public Works Environmental Education Specialist (507-328-2440 or email Stephanie)   

When I say Zumbro River, you say …. ?

The Rochester Public Works Department invites the public to celebrate the Zumbro River at “The Zumbro River Starts Here,” a special WinterFest Free Family Fun Day at the Rochester Art Center. This event, co-sponsored by the Rochester Art Center and the Zumbro Watershed Partnership, is a public engagement activity associated with the Public Works Department’s stormwater management demonstration site that will be installed on and around the 3rd Street Parking Ramp in spring 2018.

“The Zumbro River Starts Here” WinterFest Free Family Day
Saturday, February 3, 2018
1:00 – 4:00 pm
Rochester Art Center  
40 Civic Center Drive SE, Rochester, MN 55904

Event Activities

  • “Play in the Rain” (All Ages)
    A pop-up activity focusing on relationships with the Zumbro River which generates words and phrases to inspire and guide components of the stormwater-related public art piece to be located within the demonstration project site. This activity was featured at a 2017 Thursdays on First Event.
  • Story Circles (Ages 13+)
    Share your tales of the Zumbro in small group story circles led by artist Jenna Didier. This storytelling event is in conjunction with the national “People’s State of the Union” story gatherings being organized by the US Department of Arts & Culture.
  • Art Activities (All Ages)
    Join in art activities celebrating the Zumbro River
  • Stormwater Activities (All Ages)
    Learn more about efforts to improve the water quality of the Zumbro River, including the stormwater best management practice (BMP) demonstration site.

Volunteer Opportunities
Volunteers are being sought to help facilitate the story circle activities. No experience is required. Contact Stephanie at 328-2440 or email Stephanie to learn more.

Project Background
The City of Rochester was awarded an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Section 319 Grant in January of 2015 to improve the water quality of the Zumbro River by identifying feasible demonstration sites in the downtown area for demonstrating the implementation of green infrastructure designs, benefits, and maintenance practices (i.e., rain gardens, cisterns, green roofs, etc.) in an ultra-urban environment. Green infrastructure practices need to be implemented when (re)development projects exceed thresholds determined by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Grant funds will be used to construct green infrastructure practices to demonstrate implementation, effectiveness, attractiveness and to clarify maintenance needs. The City’s vision is to provide “reliable and sustainable public infrastructure to support a vibrant community.”

Stormwater Management Demonstration Site
A stormwater best management practice (BMP) demonstration site is being created along the eastern side of the City’s 3rd Street Parking Ramp. This site was chosen for the demonstration project, complete with a public art component, due to its accessibility to the public and highly visible location that will inspire and educate developers and citizens on the use of innovative stormwater management BMPs in future development and redevelopment projects. Stormwater runoff from approximately 25,000 square feet of the upper level ramp surface, as well as runoff from 1st Avenue SW, will be intercepted at ground level to demonstrate practical, innovative stormwater management strategies.

Remaining Public Art & Demonstration Site Milestones

  • Preparation of Schematic Design & Construction Documents: Late 2017 through February 2018
  • Public Engagement and Outreach Session #2: February 2018Installation of the Project: April through July 2018
  • Public Engagement and Outreach Session #3: Summer 2018

The Artist
Jenna Didier grew up in Rochester, Minnesota where she spent a lot of time wandering the fields and forests along the Zumbro River. Her work focuses on water whenever possible, aiming for the intersection between environmental and best management practices and adaptive public artworks. Many of her projects discover the invisible but powerful forces influencing a site and dramatize them through embedding interactive lighting, fog, water, or mechanical effects. Jenna lives and works in Los Angeles, California where she founded the Materials & Applications (M&A) non-profit organization that develops immersive public environments and experiments with materials and techniques through socially –engaged programs. Jenna will be present for the event on February 3, 2018.

Project Funding
The total project cost is budgeted at $555,000. Grant funding is based on a 45% cash/in-kind match by the local grant recipient. The City of Rochester received a 319 Grant award of $300,000 that became available in January 2015 and is being allocated completely for construction. The City’s match portion is $255,000.

319 Grant Program
The 1987 amendments to the Clean Water Act (CWA) established the Section 319 Nonpoint Source Management Program Section 319 addresses the need for greater federal leadership to help focus state and local nonpoint source efforts. Under Section 319, states, territories and tribes receive grant money that supports a wide variety of activities including technical assistance, financial assistance, education, training, technology transfer, demonstration projects and monitoring to assess the success of specific nonpoint source implementation projects. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) administers the program in Minnesota on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

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