Written by Aleli Balagtas
Come see Metro Blooms’ first Blooming Alley, and rediscover back alleys. The idea is to look beyond garbage cans and garages and envision alleys as inviting, ecological community spaces. That’s what neighbors on a block near Minneapolis’Lake Nokomis did last spring when they started planning their alley makeover as part of a project called Nokomis Neighbors for Clean Water. This is alley beautification with a green mission: to create lovely neighborhood spaces that incorporate strategies to reduce storm water runoff and promote native habitat.
Stormwater flowing through backyards, driveways and alleys is a major culprit in Lake Nokomis pollution. Metro Blooms undertook this project to partner with local groups, government and residents to reduce the problem. The key is community engagement: provide the tools—namely, expertise in landscape design and stormwater management—that allow residents to work together to find a solution, and make their community a better place to live in the process. Funding from the Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, the City of Minneapolis, and Hennepin County supported the project and, over several months, Metro Blooms helped neighbors on the block design and create the first Blooming Alley.
This is just the beginning. Metro Blooms will seek additional funding to create more Blooming Alleys next summer. “The block is buzzing with lots of excitement over being chosen as the first demonstration block….Thanks to you all for bringing this initiative to our doorsteps,” stated Marty Miller, a resident of the first Blooming Alley.
What: Blooming Alley Tour and Happy Hour
When: 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 23
Where: The alley behind 5017 16th Ave. South, Minneapolis, MN, 55417
Stacy Anderson of Earth Wizards will lead a tour of stormwater management practices, including permeable pavement strips, raingardens, bioswales, and trench drains in the alley.
Metro Blooms will be on hand to answer questions and help interested residents get started on their own Blooming Alleys.
Happy Hour featuring beer and munchies will follow.
B.Y.O.U.—Bring Your Own Umbrella, for this event is scheduled for rain or shine. Rain would provide practical demonstrations of stormwater diversion. It would also divert Happy Hour to a garage.
Questions? Contact Laura Hurley with Metro Blooms at firstname.lastname@example.org