MPLS WEST BANK– Colleen O’Dell is both a Research Assistant in Practice for Metro Blooms, as well as a Masters Student at both the U of M College of Design and the Humphrey School in Minneapolis. To entwine the worlds of academia and non-profit work, she’s researching the feasibility of an endowment that will fund perpetual maintenance of raingardens and other green infrastructure in the metro region. Colleen anticipates that this fund will significantly reduce the cost of green infrastructure maintenance, which will encourage cities, schools, and other public agencies to install more green infrastructure as part of new developments.
So when public agencies are already experiencing tight budgets, why would they bother with an extra budget item such as green infrastructure and raingardens? Not to mention time constraints or lack of designer expertise. Well, Metro Blooms believes that this endowment can be made strategic and cooperative in a way that makes green infrastructure beneficial for public agencies on multiple fronts. Colleen and Metro Blooms staff have assembled with a group of stormwater and native plant professionals in several metro cities to collect data and ideas. She is working collaboratively with staff to craft a financial program proposal and to develop a strategy of maintenance protocols, performance standards, and evaluation methods to present to the organization’s board of directors.
You can catch a glimpse to Colleen’s daily mindset at the U of M School of Landscape Architecture, and see her featured on the main page right here!