t’s all downhill from here.
A presentation to the Parkville Board of Aldermen on Tuesday night suggested “rain gardens” as a solution to de-stressing Parkville’s stormwater system. These “miniature wetlands” could reduce drainage and potential flooding, a problem the city knows all too well.
By planting in a shallow depression 10 feet from a building’s foundation, a rain garden filled with common plants channel the water underground where it captures, filters, stores, and slowly releases the water, reducing the amount of runoff and eliminating pollutants that could do harm to nearby streams.
Those apprehensive about digging a garden designed to mimic wet conditions have concerns about mosquitoes and clay soil, through which water does not easily pass.
Rain garden plants have deep roots, even in clay soil. Over time, the roots die off and leave channels underground for water to drain.
Female mosquitoes are attracted to lay their eggs in the garden’s temporarily wet environment. 24-48 hours later, the eggs dry up as the water is sucked into the ground, killing off the next generation of bugs.
Rain garden committee coordinator Carla Dods says the gardens are highly effective, and a cheap and easy way to improve the environment.
“I think people will take to this fairly quickly once they see the benefits,” Dods said. “It’s very popular in Minnesota where they have a lot of water to deal with. I think it will catch on in Kansas City. They can be very beautiful and they adapt to a variety of situations. With a little bit of education and minimal experience a home gardener can actually put one in themselves.”
The committee plans to hold workshops for Parkville citizens if funding is approved.
“We feel the mayor and the aldermen are behind us on this,” she said. “We’ve even suggested that they plant a rain garden in front of the new city hall once it’s built to set an example for how effective and attractive they can be.”
For more information, go to www.rainkc.com
In other business at Tuesday’s meeting, the aldermen discussed revised standards for free standing signs displayed within city limits. Among the changes included not allowing any sign to be illuminated from the hours of midnight to 5 a.m., as well as putting a cap of 10 square feet on any new sign. This was done to ensure peak traffic visibility when entering or exiting an intersection or business driveway.
There was also a proposal by community development director Sean Ackerson to require new signs to be made primarily of wood, a sentiment he said several businesses had expressed. Stone, metal or brick would also be allowed, but as secondary materials only. Alderman Marvin Ferguson suggested this may not be a realistic requirement when considering an individual business’s preference when creating their own look.
An ordinance involving an agreement between the city and the MARC Solid Waste Management District was passed to allow residents of Parkville to dispose of household hazardous waste in a safe manner through the Mid-America Regional Council.
The employment of police officer James B. Reece was also approved.