We are very close to having the contractor selected for the Capitol Square phases of the project! These include the Bell Tower Rain Gardens, the Permeable Paver Steps, and the Bus Loop Rain Gardens. A contract is expected to be awarded for these phases by mid July.
Designs are also being finalized for the Rainwater Harvesting System. This innovative system designed by the project civil engineer, Chris Sonne, will use captured runoff that will not only irrigate a large area of turf, but will allow the fountain near the Bell Tower to be refilled without relying on purchased City water. An additional portion of the harvested water will come from an existing underground spring which runs through one of the rain gardens. A similar use of this spring water on the site can be traced back to a point in the Square’s history when public drinking fountains were fed from springheads on the property.
As for the City streets portion of the project, the design has recently been recommended for approval by the City’s Urban Design Committee. Members of the committee were very excited about the project. Bid documents are expected to be completed sometime in August. Chris Sonne and myself (Chris Hale), the project Civil Engineer and Landscape Architect are currently exploring options for the rain garden soils that will accomplish objectives related to stormwater infiltration, plant growing requirements, and tree planting stability. Three new trees, along with native grasses, perennials and shrubs are proposed for the rain gardens. The native tree species selected for their wet, drought, and urban tolerance were sycamore, black gum, and fruitless sweet gum. We are also in the process of developing a long term maintenance program that can be utilized by the City to keep their new green infrastructure systems functional, healthy, and attractive!