Green & Sustainable

Chesapeake Bay Pollutant Reduction Plan Meeting

The City of Lancaster’s Department of Public Works Stormwater Bureau will accept public comments related to the City’s Chesapeake Bay Pollutant Reduction Plan (CBPRP) beginning on August 3, 2017, and extending through September 5, 2017. The City’s CBPRP was prepared to meet the requirements of the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer (MS4) permit with the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). It includes an estimate of the baseload of pollutants that are discharged to streams in the planning area; the required pollutant reductions as identified by PA DEP; proposed stormwater improvement projects to achieve the minimum required pollutant reductions; probably funding sources; and operation and maintenance responsibilities.

Click here to view the City's CBPRP. The City’s CBPRP will also be available for public review Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 am and 4:30 pm in the Stormwater Bureau Office, located on the third floor of the City Hall, 120 N. Duke St., Lancaster, PA. Comments must be provided in writing to the attention of Ruth Hocker, Stormwater Program Manager, at the above address or submitted via email to RHocker@cityoflancasterpa.com. Comments will also be accepted at a Public Meeting to be held at 6:00 pm on September 5, 2017, at City Hall, 120 N. Duke St., Lancaster, PA.

Free Spring 2017 Compost Workshops Scheduled

The Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority (LCSWMA) is partnering with municipalities, community organizations and Penn State Master Gardeners of Lancaster County to conduct home compost workshops where residents will learn how to recycle organic waste from their kitchens and gardens instead of putting it in the trash. Composting is an excellent way to recycle vegetable scraps, grass clippings, leaves, and other organic materials and turn them into a useful and valuable soil amendment.

Workshop attendees will also learn how to build effective, yet inexpensive home compost bins to meet their needs. Each household in attendance will be eligible to receive a free kitchen scrap collection bucket and enter a raffle for a home compost bin courtesy of LCSWMA.

Lancaster County residents are invited to attend any one of the home compost workshops scheduled for this year. If required, residents should pre-register by no later than Friday at noon prior to the workshop they’ll be attending.

• April 19 at the City of Lancaster Recycling Facility located at 850 New Holland Avenue, Lancaster. The workshop is from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. No fee is required, but pre-registration is recommended. To pre-register or for more information, please contact the City of Lancaster Solid Waste and Recycling Manager at (717) 291-4762 or email tbreneisen@cityoflancasterpa.com.

• May 20 at the East Donegal Township Municipal Building located at 190 Rock Point Road, Marietta. The workshop is from 10:00 am to 11:00 am. No fee is required, but pre-registration is recommended. To pre-register or for more information, please contact the East Donegal Township Recycling Coordinator at (717) 426-3167 or email vicki@eastdonegaltwp.com.

• June 7 at the Chiques Creek Watershed Expo located at Manheim Farm Show Complex, 502 East Adele Avenue, Manheim. The workshop is from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm. No fee is required and pre-registration is not necessary. For more information, please contact Chiques Creek Watershed Alliance at manager@raphotownship.com. This family event includes presenters from the Lancaster Environmental Center, Lancaster Conservation District, native plant nurseries, PA Fish and Boat Commission, Lancaster Farmland Trust, Lancaster Conservancy and others.

Intermunicipal Watershed Assessment

The City of Lancaster, in partnership with East Lampeter Township and West Lampeter Township, has received funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Growing Greener program to complete a watershed assessment and action plan for an unnamed tributary to the Conestoga River that flows through and drains runoff from all three municipalities’ regulated municipal separate storm sewer (MS4) areas. This watershed is shown in Figure 1 below.


Figure 1. Watershed Map

Beginning this week, teams from C. S. Davidson and LandStudies, Inc. will be conducting field assessments of the watershed area to support the municipalities’ development of Pollutant Reduction Plans for this watershed in accordance with their respective MS4 permits. Additional information regarding this work and the Pollutant Reduction Plans will be made available later this year.

For more information about this project, please contact Ruth Hocker at (717)735-0350. 

Lancaster Active Transportation Plan Public Meeting

Residents, business owners and bike and pedestrian advocates are encouraged to come out to the first of several Lancaster Active Transportation Plan public meetings. Participants will learn about the planning process, share their vision for bicycling and walking in Lancaster, offer input regarding specific improvements they would like to see in the community, and provide input on proposed projects such as the Northeast Greenway Trail and the Greater Lancaster Heritage Pathway.  

WHO: Residents, business owners and bike and pedestrian advocates will be joined by the project team, including Lancaster City and County staff.

WHAT: Lancaster Active Transportation Plan Public Meeting

WHEN: March 2nd from 5pm-8pm. Presentation at 6pm

WHERE: The Farm and Home Center (1383 Arcadia Road, Lancaster, PA 17601)

This event is to kick-off the Lancaster Active Transportation Plan, which is a collaboration of Lancaster County, Lancaster Inter-Municipal Committee (LIMC), and Lancaster City. Working with Alta Planning + Design, the Lancaster Active Transportation Plan will focus on 5 key projects: a Bike Network within Lancaster City, the Greater Lancaster Heritage Pathway, 2 Greenways to the north and the south of the city, and an interconnected Active Transportation Network for the county overall.

​Active Transportation is defined as human-powered transportation, such as walking, bicycling, using strollers, wheelchairs/mobility devices, skateboarding, rollerblading, or that engages people in healthy physical activity while they travel from place to place. ​Active Transportation supports transit use as well, since many people reach transit stops using active travel modes.

For more information on the project, and to get involved, go to: www.lancasteratp.com The public is invited to submit their comments and ideas via the public survey and interactive map.

64-Gallon Recycling Curb Carts Now Available

To increase recovery of recyclable materials and provide additional capacity for residents that generate large amounts of recyclables each week, the city will make available at no charge a limited number of 64-gallon carts to be delivered to properties in May 2017.

Wheeled roll-out carts are convenient to use and easy to move to the curb. However, more space than is typically needed for a standard recycling bin is required to store and maneuver the cart to the curb. To maintain the city goal of having trash and recycling containers visible from the street only during collection days, the city desires to provide carts to residents that demonstrate need and have a suitable storage location.

To be considered for a cart, the following application must be completed and returned to the city by March 31, 2017. Carts will be awarded on a first come first serve basis after evaluation by the city to verify need and that adequate storage space is available at the property. The city will determine if a property is suitable to receive a cart and notify those to be awarded one. 

Click here to download an application

Active Transportation Plan/City Bike Plan

We want to hear what your vision is for improved walking, biking, and transit use in Lancaster!

The City of Lancaster is working closely with Lancaster County, the Lancaster Intermunicipal Committee and consultant Alta Planning + Design to prepare a three part Active Transportation Plan. The overall plan addresses all forms of non-motorized transportation such as walking, bicycling, transit and even horse and buggy. The Plan will establish a vision and set achievable goals as well as identify key near-term projects that will serve as catalysts for increasing active transportation and closing gaps in the walking, biking, and transit network. But we need your help.  Please go online to www.LancasterATP.com to take a short survey and show us on a special interactive map where you walk or bike.

If you have any questions, please email info-ATP@cityoflancasterpa.com or info-ATP@co.lancaster.pa.us

The City Invests in Renewable Energy Credits

The City of Lancaster is excited to announce that it has significantly increased its support for green energy through the purchase of renewable energy certificates (RECs). As of December 1, 2016, 100% of energy used for City street lights and 50% of energy used for all City buildings will be offset by wind energy. Previously, the City of Lancaster offset 10% of all energy used. RECs are similar to carbon emissions trading, but instead of trading tons of carbon avoided kilowatt hours of electricity are traded. Generally, this is accomplished by paying a small premium in addition to the regular electric bill. This small cost increase of less than $1 per resident annually helps to support the production of green energy nationwide and ensures that it is being added to the grid for consumption by households, businesses, and industry.

Purchasing RECs is part of the City of Lancaster’s commitment to sustainability that is outlined in its 2015-2017 Strategic Plan; it prioritizes creating green procurement policies and establishing targets for energy and greenhouse gas emissions. The purchase of RECs is a green procurement policy and also offsets the City’s electricity carbon emissions. These newly purchased RECs offset about 25,500 metric tons of carbon, or the equivalent emissions of 5,000 cars in a year.  

According to the U.S. Green Building Council, the built environment accounts for two-thirds of carbon emissions in the United States. Carbon dioxide is emitted by buildings through the consumption of fossil fuel-based energy (e.g., coal plants, natural gas); it is also a greenhouse gas that traps heat in the earth’s atmosphere and is the primary cause of global climate change, which is leading to worldwide increases in drought, flooding, wildfires, hurricanes, heat stress, extinction, and unprecedented ecological stress, among many other social and political struggles.

Mitigating carbon emissions is essential to lessening the devastating impacts of climate change and ensuring the prosperity of our communities. The City of Lancaster is proud to demonstrate its commitment to this pressing issue. 

Playground Design Huddle

WE ARE BUILDING A PLAYGROUND!

In October, in ONE day, volunteers will build a great new place for kids to play. The playground will be at Holly Pointe Park, at the corner of Red Maple Rd. and Holly Ln. But, before we can build the playground, we must design it. So, come out to the Design Huddle on Tuesday, May 24thClick here for more information.

Please RSVP to confirm your attendance at the Design Huddle to erinlong@lancaster.k12.pa.us

FREE Home Compost Workshop Scheduled

The Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority (LCSWMA) is partnering with municipalities, community organizations and Penn State Master Gardeners of Lancaster County to conduct home compost workshops where residents will learn how to recycle organic waste from their kitchens and gardens instead of putting it in the trash. Composting is an excellent way to recycle vegetable scraps, grass clippings, leaves, and other organic materials and turn them into a useful and valuable soil amendment.

Workshop attendees will also learn how to build effective, yet inexpensive home compost bins to meet their needs. Each household in attendance will be eligible to receive a free kitchen scrap collection bucket courtesy of LCSWMA.

The workshop in Lancaster City will take place on April 20 at the City of Lancaster Recycling Facility located at 850 New Holland Avenue. The workshop is from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. No fee is required, but pre-registration is recommended. To pre-register or for more information, please contact the City of Lancaster Solid Waste and Recycling Manager at (717) 291-4762 or email tbreneisen@cityoflancasterpa.com.

Click here for a list of workshop dates in other municipalities.

Rain Barrel Winterization

The City Stormwater Bureau and SaveIt! would like to remind residents to winterize their rain barrels.

It’s that time of year again! As December progresses and the winter chill settles in for good, it is time to winterize your rain barrel.

Freezing temperatures can damage rain barrels, their diverters and faucets, and other parts and accessories. So, we recommend property owners winterize their rain barrels. Here a few tips:

- Be careful! Full rain barrels are heavy! A gallon of water weighs over 8 lbs., so a full rain barrel can weigh more than 400lbs.

- Start by draining the rain barrel. Turn on the spigot and let the water slowly drain out.

- Once the rain barrel spigot has stopped flowing, disconnect the rain barrel, remove the lid and tip the barrel to empty any remaining water.

- After emptying the rain barrel, we recommend a quick cleaning before storage. To clean the inside of the rain barrel, prepare a solution of 1/4 cup of distilled vinegar and 1 teaspoon of a mild soap (e.g., castile soap) to 1 gallon of warm water. Pour the solution into the rain barrel and swish is around with a sponge or brush, then rinse with clean water or hose thoroughly. This solution can be safely poured out on lawn or grassed areas..

- After cleaning, allow the rain barrel to dry.

- Store rain barrels indoors, in a basement or garage, if possible. If rain barrels must be stored outside, place them upside down on an elevated surface so it will stay dry and empty.

- During winter, downspouts should be reconnected and positioned to drain any roof runoff and snow melt away from the building foundation.

These steps should help preserve your rain barrel and ensure it is in good condition for use next spring.

For more information on rain barrels and other stormwater management solutions to SaveIt!, please visit www.saveitlancasterpa.com

Chestnut Street Bikeway

The City’s Traffic Commission heard questions from City residents and reviewed a conceptual plan for bike lanes on a portion of Chestnut Street at its November 10th meeting. More than a hundred residents attended the meeting, where Public Works Director Charlotte Katzenmoyer talked about a possible pilot project to test a two-way bikeway for one year. The pilot could begin as early as next spring, pending approval by the Traffic Commission. The section of West Chestnut Street between College Avenue and Mulberry Street is being considered as a location for the pilot bikeway because the street was recently repaved and re-striped.

Mayor Gray, who also serves as Chair of the Traffic Commission, expressed gratitude to residents for participating in the meeting. “This was a very productive discussion, with great questions. There’s a lot of support for our decision to establish bike lanes in the City. This meeting was a good first step in making sure we get it right.”

A second neighborhood meeting to discuss bike lanes will be held at Reynolds Middle School on December 9 at 7:00 pm. Please help spread the word.

Click here to download an FAQ answering the questions listed below that were raised during the November 10th meeting and in the days that followed.

How will people in wheelchairs be able to access RRTA vans in front of the Unitarian Church, since the van lift now goes directly to the sidewalk?

How will snow removal be handled? Will Chestnut Street still be a Snow Emergency Route?

How will bikes handle cars pulling out onto Chestnut Street from the south?

Why do you have yield signs at intersections since cyclists in street don’t need to yield?

How will sight distances be handled for cars pulling out of cross streets?

How will the College Avenue intersection be handled? With signals?

If the pilot is not successful, will it be removed?

What types of signage will be used on side streets?

Will this slow traffic for commuters and people driving into the city?

How many bikes actually use these cycle tracks?

Is this to increase safety for bicycle commuters now or to increase the number of cyclists commuting?

Won’t the Yield signs send a mixed message?

How do we get children to obey the Yield sign?

What do the downtown merchants think of the bikeway?

Why not convert Chestnut Street to two-way traffic?

How will backing out of driveways be handled?

Will there be improved lighting at intersections?

Were traffic counts done in the morning when commuters are coming into the city?

Why was Chestnut Street striped the way that it is now compared to before the new paving?

Is the city considering the safety of residents?

When would the bikeway be completed?

How far will the bikeway go?

Will joggers be allowed in the bike lane?

Will school buses that turn onto Nevin St be able to make this turn safely?

And will parking be lost at this intersection to maintain turning radius?

Will speed bumps be used to control speeds for cyclists and to alert drivers?

Won’t narrow lanes increase accidents for everyone?

Do fatal accidents in the city happen primarily on wider roads?

Will the police department, fire department, and other emergency services get to review this pilot before it’s installed?

How wide is a typical car?

How wide is a ladder fire truck?

How wide is a trash truck?

How will the City handle trash collection?

 

Please post any addition questions on our Facebook page or send them to info@cityoflancasterpa.com. Check our blog often for additional questions and answers.

FREE Home Compost Workshops Scheduled

The Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority (LCSWMA) is partnering with municipalities, community organizations and Penn State Master Gardeners of Lancaster County to conduct home compost workshops where residents will learn how to recycle organic waste from their kitchens and gardens instead of putting it in the trash. Composting is an excellent way to recycle vegetable scraps, grass clippings, leaves, and other organic materials and turn them into a useful and valuable soil amendment.

Workshop attendees will also learn how to build effective, yet inexpensive home compost bins to meet their needs. Each household in attendance will be eligible to receive a free kitchen scrap collection bucket courtesy of LCSWMA.

Lancaster County residents are invited to attend any one of the home compost workshops scheduled for this year. If required, residents should pre-register by no later than Friday at noon prior to the workshop they’ll be attending.

  • April 22 at the City of Lancaster Recycling Drop-off Center located at 850 New Holland Avenue, Lancaster. The workshop is from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. No fee is required, but pre-registration is recommended. To pre-register or for more information, please contact the City of Lancaster Solid Waste & Recycling Manager at (717) 291-4762 or email tbreneisen@cityoflancasterpa.com.
  • May 7 at the West Lampeter Township Village Park pavilion located at 800 Village Road, Lampeter. The workshop is from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm. No fee is required, but pre-registration is recommended. To pre-register or for more information, please contact the West Lampeter Township Recycling Coordinator at (717) 464-3731 or email joellyn@westlampeter.com.
  • June 6 at the West Donegal Township Municipal Office located at One Municipal Drive, Elizabethtown. The workshop is from 10:00 am to 11:00 am. No fee is required, but pre-registration is recommended. To pre-register or for more information, please contact the West Donegal Township Recycling Coordinator at (717) 367-7178 or email 

FAQ about Cartons from Penn Waste

From Penn Waste:

In January, we announced that we will begin taking cartons as an acceptable recyclable item. Many households use cartons on a daily basis. Removing them from the waste stream and allowing these items to be recyclable will have a great impact on the environment.

With any new recyclable material, there may be some questions. In order to provide all of our customers with as much information as possible, we created a flyer on Frequently Asked Questions about Cartons. Topics covered include what a carton is, what are they made from and how to recycle cartons. Please keep reading for more information on carton recycling.

By now, you may already have a good idea of what a carton is. Cartons are a type of packaging for food and beverage products you can purchase at the store. They are easy to recognize and are available in two types – shelf-stable and refrigerated. Shelf-stable carton products include juice, milk, soy milk, soup or broth and wine cartons. These items are typically found on the shelves in the grocery stores. Refrigerated carton products include milk, juice, cream and egg substitutes. These items are typically found in the chilled sections of grocery stores.

So now that you know what a carton is, you may be wondering what cartons are made from. Cartons mainly contain paper in the form of paperboard and thin layers of polyethylene (a type of plastic) and/or aluminum. Shelf-stable cartons contain about 74% paper, 22% polyethylene and 4% aluminum. Refrigerated cartons contain about 80% paper and 20% polyethylene.

Recycling your cartons is easy to do. Simply place your empty carton in your recycle bin with all of your other recyclable items. Here are some more tips to recycle cartons:

  • Make sure your carton is empty
  • Rinse out your carton to remove any odors
  • Remove any caps and straws

Want to learn more about carton recycling? Please be sure to check out our Frequently Asked Questions piece here. We have also updated our Recycling Guidelines to include cartons. You may also want to visit the carton council’s websitefor more information on carton recycling.

To stay up to date on all things recycling or collection updates, be sure to like our Facebook pagefollow us on Twitter and sign up for our E-News Updates.

 

More Bang for the Green Buck: Using Green Infrastructure to Revitalize Water Systems and the Community

By Mike Shapiro
Originally posted on blog.epa.gov

Lancaster, Pennsylvania’s small but historic Crystal Park is located in a racially diverse and economically distressed neighborhood rich in history.   The neighborhood once served as a welcome gate to the southwest corner of the city but suffered neglect.  The park was no different, and long had been underutilized by local residents.  When Lancaster implemented its Green Infrastructure Plan, neighbors of the park considered it an important focus for the city’s redevelopment efforts.  Nearly one year later, neighbors love the space.  Use of the park, which had been non-existent before this revitalization effort, has outpaced all expectations.

Revitalization of the park is just a part of Lancaster’s efforts to recreate itself into a sustainable city.  In fact, Lancaster was the first community to receive the Sustainable Pennsylvania Community Certification under the Pennsylvania Municipal League’s new statewide program.  The certification acknowledges Lancaster for its progress in addressing areas of community design and land use, energy efficiency, health and wellness, mitigating blight, intergovernmental cooperation, recycling and waste reduction, fiscal controls, and internal management and operations.

Lancaster, a diverse city of 60,000 in southern Pennsylvania faces many of the infrastructure challenges prevalent in older communities across the country.  Located within the Chesapeake Bay watershed, the city operates a combined sewer system, which manages both wastewater and stormwater, as well as a separate storm sewer system.  As with many urban centers, the city is largely paved—nearly half of the city is covered by impervious surfaces such as parking lots, buildings, and roadways.  Stormwater runoff from these paved areas overflows the city’s combined sewers during heavy rainstorms, becoming a major source of pollution in local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay.

On August 18, Charlotte Katzenmoyer, Lancaster’s Director of Public Works, visited EPA headquarters to discuss the series of innovative, green approaches the city has adopted to improve its water infrastructure and enhance the community for the benefit of all residents.  For Crystal Park, enhancements include a porous asphalt basketball court, a plaza and picnic area constructed of permeable pavers, and rain gardens that help capture stormwater runoff. The porous plaza doubles as an amphitheater where local theaters have brought plays to this underserved community this past summer for the first time in the city’s history.

Lancaster has built over 100 green infrastructure projects designed to reduce stormwater runoff.  Green infrastructureuses vegetation, soils, and natural processes to manage stormwater runoff at its source, protecting water quality and benefiting communities through improved air quality, enhanced recreational opportunities, revitalized neighborhoods, and even enhanced climate resiliency.  Increasingly, it is being used to complement and enhance gray infrastructure investments such as pipes and ponds.

The city has creatively integrated green infrastructure into other public works improvements, actively engaging community groups in selecting and developing these projects.  The city worked to ensure that residents from around the city were represented and engaged in the process, convening an advisory committee, with representatives from the city’s civic and community groups, to provide input into its green infrastructure plan and throughout project selection and development. In addition, the city has used demonstration projects and outreach efforts to seek out community input and educate community members on the benefits of green infrastructure.

The public works department has used this approach to cost-effectively improve the city’s overall infrastructure and neighborhoods and improve a range of amenities for local residents—incorporating plants and infiltration trenches into “green” alleys and parking lots; building community rain gardens; and creating basketball courts with permeable surfaces through which stormwater can drain.  Lancaster estimates that its green infrastructure projects will capture about 45 million gallons of stormwater runoff annually.  In addition to managing stormwater runoff and helping enhance neighborhoods and residential amenities, Lancaster has found that green infrastructure approaches can cost significantly less than gray infrastructure investments—enlarging the city’s wastewater treatment plant and building holding tanks to adequately store stormwater overflows would cost the city an estimated $300 million, compared with $140 million to manage the same volume of stormwater using green infrastructure approaches.

Building green infrastructure has been instrumental in allowing Lancaster to improve its infrastructure with the least possible impact to wastewater utility rates, a concern for the city’s many economically distressed ratepayers. In addition, to further pay for these stormwater improvements equitably, the city adopted a stormwater utility fee in February based on each parcel’s impervious cover, meaning those properties that generate proportionally more stormwater pay a higher utility fee. This also provides relief for individual ratepayers, whose properties generally have lower levels of impervious cover.

Importantly, Lancaster has looked to optimize the many community benefits that green infrastructure can provide. Increasing green space in environmentally overburdened, underserved, and economically distressed communities, enhancing tree canopy, and improving recreational facilities have provided public health benefits and improved the overall livability of Lancaster. We were grateful to have Charlotte share many of Lancaster’s successes and to see how communities are making green infrastructure work for their residents, providing both environmental and social benefits.

About the Author: Mike Shapiro is the Deputy Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Water and leads the office’s efforts with regard to Environmental Justice.

City recognized as sustainable municipality

From the Pennsylvania Municipal League:

The City of Lancaster is the first community to receive Sustainable Pennsylvania Community Certification under the Pennsylvania Municipal League’s (PML) new statewide program. Last week, PML announced the initiative designed for municipalities that are working to save money, conserve resources, and serve vibrant communities.  The League administered program is a free, voluntary online certification system that provides a structure and performance platform for recognition of municipalities as they embrace sustainable policies and programs.

Lancaster is recognized at the Gold level of certification for meeting the program's rigorous performance criteria, which tracks 131 policies and practices that define a sustainable community. 

“Planning for the present and the future requires a sustainable approach. To be recognized as a Gold Sustainable PA Community is an honor, but it is also a challenge to do more,” said Lancaster Mayor J. Richard Gray.  “Sustainable communities are attractive to current and future residents and businesses. ‘Sustainable’ equates with ‘successful’.”

In earning the Gold certification, Lancaster is acknowledged for its progress in addressing such areas as community design and land use, energy efficiency, health and wellness, mitigating blight, intergovernmental cooperation, recycling and waste reduction, fiscal controls, and internal management and operations.   Details regarding how Lancaster City is addressing these areas and information about their certification performance can be found on the certification program’s website at www.sustainablepacommunitycertification.org.

“The City of Lancaster, under the leadership of Mayor Gray, has been a leader in innovation and progressive local government practices.  It is fitting they would be the first municipality to achieve Gold status via this new PML initiative, Sustainable PA,” said PML Executive Director Richard J. Schuettler.

A Sustainable Pennsylvania Community Certification is intended to bring recognition to municipalities that are applying the policy and practice of sustainability as their way of operating in order to advance community prosperity.  It also serves as a mechanism for sharing best practices for creating a more sustainable Pennsylvania.

City of Lancaster Wins the BUBBA!

If you follow the City on Facebook and Twitter, you’ve probably seen a few posts about the BUBBAs. Hosted by the Chesapeake Stormwater Network, the Best Urban BMP in the Bay Awards (BUBBAs) recognizes the best urban stormwater management practices (techniques, measures or structural controls used to manage the quantity and improve the quality of stormwater runoff) that have been installed in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The reconstruction of the intersection at Plum and Walnut Streets was nominated for the BUBBA as an Ultra-urban BMP. Ultra-urban BMPs are stormwater practices built in infill or redevelopment projects in urban areas with more than 75% site impervious cover.

To put it simply, the old intersection was dangerous and uninspiring. Now, the same intersection is safer, with a 5 MPH reduction in average traffic speed, and features rain gardens, a new porous patio for the Lancaster Brewing Company, and a multi-tasking public art project. Best of all, this entire project manages 1.7 million gallons annually and keeps it out of the city’s over burdened combined sewer system.

All of the new elements of the intersection keep excess stormwater from reaching the sewer system. The rain gardens are full of native shrubs, perennials, ornamental grasses and new tree species, and the patio is made of permeable pavers. These components allow stormwater, which would otherwise flow into the Conestoga River and all the way to the Chesapeake Bay, to soak into the ground and be treated by the natural filtration and microbial action within the soils below the area. The public art installation, the Lancaster Gateway Bundle, includes a 700 gallon cistern that collects stormwater runoff from the roof of the Lancaster Brewing Company. This cistern serves both as public art and as irrigation for planters where the brewery grows some of their own produce.

After the project was named Best Ultra-Urban BMP, it went up against projects that placed first place in other categories, like Best Innovative BMP and Best Homeowner BMP. Online voting took place to name the “ultimate” first place winner, and 1851 votes were cast. The reconstruction of the intersection of Plum and Walnut Streets received over 800 of those votes, making the City of Lancaster the grand prize winner of $5,000!

What was once a dangerous intersection is now a model for green infrastructure, and an award-winning one at that. Thank you to all who voted! For more information about green infrastructure in the City of Lancaster, visit www.saveitlancaster.com.

Artistic Innovation: Lancaster Gateway Bundle

It’s amazing what a simple paper placemat and some crayons can do for you.

In the case of the new Lancaster Brewing Company’s kids’ activity sheets—it gave my kids an opportunity to draw while learning about keeping our city clean; inspired a discussion on the role of functional art with my husband; and instilled a good dollop of civic pride — all while relaxing over a cold beer. Who knew?!

Earlier this year, on a busy Friday evening, my family and I journeyed to the Lancaster Brewing Company to check out the newly installed public artwork, the Lancaster Gateway Bundle.

The Gateway Bundle functions not only as a piece of public art, but also as a key piece of Lancaster’s Green Infrastructure plan—a plan developed to help prevent polluted stormwater runoff from flowing into our regions’ waterways. The cistern inside the bundle collects the water that flows from the Lancaster Brewing Company’s roof—water that would otherwise flow into the Susquehanna River and all the way to the Chesapeake Bay.

The Bundle serves as a striking example of our city’s creative and communal approach to problem solving: by combining public art with environmental initiatives, the project’s collaborators (The City of Lancaster, the Public Art Advisory Board, The Lancaster Brewing Company, Austin + Mergold and GSM Industrial) have beautified an intersection, spurred economic development, and created a shining gateway into our city—one that leads the region in environmental and artistic innovation.

While many are aware of Lancaster’s burgeoning reputation as an arts destination, few may know of the equally impressive reputation that our city garners in the world of green infrastructure and stormwater management. In fact, the EPA recently used the City of Lancaster as a case study to examine the economic benefits of using green infrastructure for controlling the problem of stormwater runoff. The study concludes that Lancaster is leading the way in creating cost-effective and innovative solutions to the stormwater challenges we face today.

How has Lancaster done it? By thinking outside the box of traditional mitigation solutions. There are so many great people in Lancaster who understand that solving problems like stormwater pollution isn’t just about pipes, roofs, and gardens: it’s about community engagement, improving our parks, and making the city a happier, more beautiful place to be. To this end, the City of Lancaster has integrated public art, community engagement, and education into many of its Green Infrastructure projects. A practice that is gaining recognition all around the region, good politics can make for good art and good art for good politics.

The Gateway Bundle is exemplary on this front.  As is the futuristic “Revolutions” of Brandon Park’s interactive lighting. Powered by solar panels, the artwork shines over the newly renovated park, complete with basketball courts made of porous pavement. And Crystal Park’s “Changing Gears” which uses LED lights to show visitors how much water is being collected in the park’s underground rainwater-field well.  

Community engagement and education is vital for each of the city’s Public Art Projects. For the Gateway Bundle, our planning committee worked with the Lancaster Brewing Company, the City, and with advice from the Urban Greening arm of the Lancaster County Conservancy to create an activity placemat for the Brewing Company’s visitors. The placemat teaches kids (and parents) about problem of stormwater, the function of the Gateway Bundle, and gives young ones a chance to design their own cistern.

After admiring the sculpture that busy Friday evening with my family, my husband and I drank our beer while our two boys quietly (a miracle!) decorated their own cisterns on the placemat. They quizzed us on how we could build a creative barrel in other places—our house? their schools?—to collect more polluted stormwater.

I was reminded of what the Mayor likes to point out about our City: In Lancaster “We are creating a feeling of pride and accomplishment among its citizens and leaving a legacy for future generations.”

I walked outside the other day, when the sun was out and the piles of snow were quickly melting. I found my children out frantically collecting water from the sidewalk curb with buckets and pouring it over the plants in front of our house. What are you doing?!? I yelled out. “We’re saving the water from the storm drains, Mom”. They proudly replied. “Just like the people who made that cool cistern.

By Libby Modern, Public Art Advisory Board

ArtWalk City Parks Bus Tours

Have you been to newly renovated Rodney Park lately? How about the brand new dog park at Buchanan Park? If not, now’s your chance! On Saturday, October 5 during Fall ArtWalk, the City will be offering City parks bus tours, allowing residents and visitors to board a bus at one of several locations and tour the parks with a knowledgeable guide. They’ll touch on the improvements made to the parks, like public art and green infrastructure.

City parks bus tours are free and open to the public on a first come, first serve basis. Tours will leave from four different locations and visit each of the city parks listed below. Tour times are 9 am and 11 am. The tour takes approximately 1.5 hours. The buses will return to the starting location following the tour. 

Bus Tour Meeting Locations at 9 AM and 11 AM:

-          Buchanan Dog Park, Buchanan and Race Ave.

-          Rodney Park

-          St. Anne Peace Garden, 205 S. Ann Street.

-          Sixth Ward Park

Tour Route: Buses will follow the below route in order, depending on starting location. The last stop of each tour will be the Lancaster Brewing Company.

Buchanan Dog Park
Rodney Park/Crystal Park
Brandon Park
St. Anne Peace Garden
Sixth Ward Park
Lancaster Brewing Company

If you plan on attending, RSVP on Facebook!