Thursday, December 12, 2013

Simon Properties Earns Stewardship Award - Expanding on the Watershed Stewardship Awards

The Outstanding Partner Award, accepted by Jennifer Lewis and Tim Pothen.

Storm before the calm.  Tree trench construction was an organized
disruption to the parking lot before completion.
Simon Properties, owner of Maplewood Mall, was selected for the Outstanding Partner Award, which recognizes an individual, group or business that effectively collaborates with Ramsey-Washington metro Watershed District to achieve exceptional results in water resources management.

Five years ago, District staff approached the Mall management with a bold idea, saying: “Let us alter your parking lot to capture stormwater runoff, take parking spaces to create rain gardens to infiltrate the stormwater and let us do this without purchasing property or easements.” The proposal was enthusiastically accepted. For the past five years, the District has worked with Mall management staff and headquarters, tenants, anchor stores and maintenance staff to retrofit the property with stormwater management features while beautifying the site.

Stakeholders at a tile breaking ceremony prior to the start of the project.

Innovative rock tree trenches, planted with 375 trees, have created parking lot groves. Fifty-five rain gardens capture pollutants from the parking lot and main entrance and a 5,700-gallon rainwater cistern collects polluted runoff from the Mall’s roof. Educational signs and artwork illuminate the clean water features. Together, the mall improvements meet the goal of treating the first inch of rainfall runoff from the entire site to improve water quality of Kolman Lake and the remainder of the Phalen Chain of Lakes. This project is the first major mall retrofit in the country and has attracted national and international attention.

The completed main entry with porous pavers, rain gardens, native plantings, a cistern, educational signage and mural, artificial creek bed and rain trenches.  Phew!

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