Greener Streetscape Projects?

Anyone following City of Northfield initiatives or the NDDC blog postings would be at least somewhat aware of the Streetscape projects that have been discussed for the past three or four years and the actual results, including the pavers to Bridge Square, the Library Plaza, and, my favorite, the bike racks.

One of the next projects scheduled to be implemented is what some people have called Parking Lot Enhancement and I refer to as Downtown Parking Visibility. It’s basically aesthetic treatments of the edges and entrances of existing major parking areas in downtown. For an example, think of the landscaping, brick wall and iron railing on the liquor store parking lot at 5th and Water Streets.

The NDDC board members involved in this project, Joe Grundhoefer and Keith Covey, have been supportive of this particular streetscape project. Their view is that for not a huge investment, we’ll get more leverage out of existing infrastructure through increasing awareness of our downtown parking.

I’m all over that line of thinking but I’ve got a new twist, let’s make it GREEN. After listening to the LID folks the other night at the Planning Commission meeting, I would suggest that we try to make the landscaping more than decorative and perhaps dig a little deeper to make it a rain garden with stormwater cleansing potential, or a bioretention system.

I’m no rocket scientist, but I think it’s worth a look. For not a lot more money, I think that we can get a lot more functionality.