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'Green gem' will filter stormwater

Nov 17, 2013

This article was sourced from: http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/article/20131117/NEWS04/311170044/-Green-gem-will-filter-stormwater

When next year’s spring rains come to one part of the City of Poughkeepsie, the runoff no longer will rush along as much pavement, pick up quite so many contaminants and slosh it all into the Fallkill Creek.

That’s because steps have been taken to create natural methods to collect and filter stormwater runoff along the hulking former underwear factory, long abandoned on North Cherry Street.

Native grasses and other plants have been planted along and inside two retention ponds as part of a larger effort to reduce the amount of storm-propelled pollution that makes its way into local creeks, rivers and, ultimately, the Hudson River.

On Friday, representatives from the nonprofit Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, the state Department of Environmental Conservation and Hudson River Housing gathered to highlight the project, which was designed by Manhattan-based eDesign Dynamics.

“This will create a green gem in the city and provide access to the Fallkill for people in this neighborhood, people who haven’t had the environmental enjoyment they deserve,” said Fran Dunwell, coordinator of the DEC’s Hudson River Estuary Program.

The estuary program contributed nearly $100,000 to the project’s $126,000 cost. The rest was covered by matching funds from the community, Dunwell said.

The project was designed to demonstrate green infrastructure, the term given for processes such as man-made wetlands, permeable pavers and other stormwater-control methods.

“By putting in a green infrastructure project, you beautify the neighborhood,” said Manna Jo Greene, Clearwater’s environmental action director, “and you create a system to re-infiltrate the water into the ground, instead of having it go through any kind of a storm sewer system.”

Hudson River Housing is planning a mix of residential and commercial space at the factory. Some of the commercial space could be available within a year, Executive Director Edward Murphy said. The building eventually will have 16 residential units, he said.

Eric Rothstein, managing partner at eDesign, said the small wetlands eventually will attract dragonflies, frogs, toads and birds.

“I live around here, and I don’t drive,” said city resident Mahto Topah, 33. “So I do walk along Main Street a lot. I see a lot of old (closed) businesses and a lot of businesses that open up for a week or a month and then close. It’s nice to see that they are trying to bring life back to Main Street.”

Reporter John Ferro can be reached by Email at: [email protected]

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