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Construction to begin on "The Zumbro River Starts Here" stormwater demonstration project

Post Date:05/24/2018 11:44 AM


Construction to begin on the “The Zumbro River Starts Here” stormwater demonstration project

The construction of “The Zumbro River Starts Here” stormwater demonstration project is set to begin on Tuesday, May 29, 2018. Work on this project will close the southbound travel lane and parking spaces on 1st Avenue SW between Historic 3rd Street SW and the exit from the 3rd Street Parking Ramp. The western sidewalk alongside 1st Avenue SW in this same area will also be closed. The northbound travel lane and parking spaces, as well as the 3rd Street Parking Ramp exit, will remain open during this project. Construction work will last through July 31, 2018.

In cooperation with the Rochester Downtown Alliance, contractors will not work during “Thursdays on First & 3rd” and will accommodate the 1st Avenue stage in its usual location during these events. Project perimeter and safety fencing will remain in place during the events.

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.

Learn more about the project at

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 June 29.

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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