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GF mulls more greenery downtown

Grand Forks city officials are proposing to make some downtown streets greener with new planters that would water themselves with stormwater, leading to healthier plants and less runoff.

Grand Forks city officials are proposing to make some downtown streets greener with new planters that would water themselves with stormwater, leading to healthier plants and less runoff.

Runoff could bring contaminants into the river, and the federal government has considered regulating runoff quality. This is one reason the street sweepers are out as often as they are.

The project would be relatively simple, with existing planters widened and lowered to street level, according to Melanie Parvey-Biby, the city environmental compliance manager.

She's still working on the proposal and does not yet have an estimate on the cost, which, she said, she hoped could be paid with a grant.

The idea was discussed by the mayor's Green Grand Forks Committee and was before the City Council's Service Committee on Tuesday.

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Downtown happens to be the best area for the retrofit because there are a lot of trees in planter boxes already, she said.

The idea of a green street is similar to rain gardens, which are planted areas below pavement level. Runoff flows into them and is naturally filtered.

Existing downtown planter boxes are small and surrounded by concrete.

Parvey-Biby said that with so much concrete and pavement on top of the soil and all the traffic compacting the soil, many urban trees can get smothered. The green street plan would widen the planter boxes, making the trees healthier, she said, and there's more room for shrubbery and other kinds of greenery.

Related Topics: ENVIRONMENT
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