Autumn Ridge Apartments is a 17-acre, 366-unit rental community in Brooklyn Park. This is our pilot site for our equitable engagement framework, which includes resident-centered design, installation, and training to ensure decision-making power is shared with residents and the knowledge to care and advocate for the project lies within the community. We have worked with our partners — residents, owner Sherman Associates, African Career Education and Resource Inc (ACER), and the City of Brooklyn Park — on a multi-year stormwater management retrofit plan as part of a larger landscape redesign. The goals for this work include improving water quality in Shingle Creek, mitigating localized flooding on site, creating pollinator habitat, enhancing livability and providing ongoing education and job training opportunities for residents and management. Previously, the site was highly impervious. The project has resulted in 18 new rain gardens, the replacement of 65 ash trees threatened by emerald ash borer with a more diverse and sustainable tree canopy (representing more than 10 native species), and more than 12,000 sq. ft. of pollinator habitat. And there are now more picnic tables and benches, as well as additional playground equipment.
Project goals and principles include the following:
- Centering the voices and ideas of those most impacted by the project
- Building trust, capacity, and social capital
- Capturing stormwater runoff and reduce pollutants
- Increasing environmental literacy