AmeriCorps to install rain gardens for Cedar Rapids residents

Downtown Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, May 14, 2014. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Downtown Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, May 14, 2014. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — AmeriCorps is leading an effort to design and install rain gardens for selected Cedar Rapids residents this summer.

A typical rain garden is a depressed area of a lawn with deep-rooted plants that absorb rainwater runoff from impervious areas, such as driveways and roofs. Rain garden benefits include cutting down on flood risk, conserving water, filtering rainwater, improving water quality and being aesthetically pleasing, according to city officials, who are coordinating the effort.

Residents can apply for the program on the city’s website. Applications are due by March 27. Property owners will be responsible for the cost of materials, such as flowers, plants and stones, but rain gardens are eligible for 50 percent reimbursement from the city’s cost-share program.

Winners will be selected based on the number of applicants, priority locations for rain gardens and site soil conditions, according to a statement from the city.

“Rain gardens are a beautiful way to help support the city’s efforts of reducing our risk of localized stormwater flooding,” said Cara Matteson, city stormwater coordinator. “This is a great opportunity to take advantage of not only the city’s cost-share program, but of a professional service willing to design and install the rain garden for free.”

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