On Friday, April 24, at 11:00am, MSD Project Clear and Cortex Innovation Community offered a first look at the MSD Project Clear/Cortex $5 million rainscaping project, featuring a nearly-completed area of the Cortex Commons at the corner of Boyle and Clayton in midtown St. Louis. The Cortex rainscaping project was the fifth stop on East West Gateway’s 2015 Rainscaping Tour as they tour area raingardens in honor of Earth Day. Representatives from MSD Project Clear and Cortex will speak about the partnership behind this rainscaping project, followed by a tour of the rainscaping features and their expected impact on our community by SWT Design, the landscape architect.
“We are excited to showcase the first phase of green infrastructure in Cortex today. The MSD Project Clear Rainscaping Early Action Program is allowing Cortex to incorporate innovative and sustainable elements in a beautiful and functional public realm that supports our mission to grow the district as an epicenter for innovation – an always-on, 24/7, live-work-play-learn district to support a thriving, passionate community of entrepreneurs. The investments started here in Cortex Commons will continue over the coming years and will include streetscapes across the 200-acre district. We’re committed to innovation at all levels – including below ground,” said Cortex President and CEO Dennis Lower.
The community partnership between MSD and Cortex began in 2012 and is part of MSD Project Clear’s Rainscaping Early Action Program. The goals of the Rainscaping Early Action Program are to identify and implement rainscaping projects and programs, such as the Cortex installation, that will significantly reduce the amount of rainwater that enters the combined sewer system, thereby abating combined sewer overflows into the Mississippi River. Rainscaping projects like this one prevent stormwater from reaching the combined sewer system by capturing and diverting it to locations where it is detained, infiltrated into the ground, evaporated, taken up by plants and transpired, or reused.
“By working with partners such as Cortex on large community-scale rainscaping projects, we can have a positive effect on our entire sewer system and play a role in furthering this economic engine in the heart of the region,” stated MSD Executive Director Brian Hoelscher.
MSD Project Clear, MSD’s initiative to improve water quality and alleviate many wastewater concerns in the St. Louis region, will invest billions of dollars over a generation in planning, designed, and building system improvements, and ambitious program of maintenance and repair and $100 million in rainscaping investments.
MSD will continue to build partnerships with municipalities, schools, community development organizations, and private developers. The goal is to engage partners to identify joint opportunities to incorporate rainscaping into ongoing programs and future redevelopment projects.
About MSD Project Clear
MSD Project Clear is the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District’s initiative to improve water quality and alleviate many wastewater concerns in the St. Louis region. MSD Project Clear will invest billions of dollars over a generation in planning, designing, and building community rainscaping and system improvements, along with an ambitious program of maintenance and repair and the disconnection of some residential downspouts in parts of St. Louis County’s separate sewer area from the wastewater sewer line. This work is part of an agreement between MSD and the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Missouri Coalition for the Environment.
The St. Louis region’s success with MSD Project Clear will only be possible through strong partnerships and clear communications with the public.
To learn more about the MSD agreement with EPA, please visit www.stlmsd.com/our-organization/organization-overview/consent-decree. For more information on MSD Project Clear, visit ProjectClearSTL.org or follow us on Twitter @ProjectClearSTL.
About the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District (MSD)
Created in 1954, the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District (MSD) works every day to protect the public’s health and the natural environment through effective wastewater and stormwater management strategies.
MSD is responsible for the public sewer system that homes and businesses connect to through lateral lines. Through a labyrinth of connected sewers, wastewater is transported to one of seven sewer treatment plants – nearly 7,000 miles of sewers in all. That is like going from St. Louis to New York City and back three times! Individual property owners are responsible for another important part of the system, the sewer lateral that connects a home’s plumbing to the public sewer in the street.
Cortex Innovation Community is a non-profit organization formed in 2002 by Washington University in St. Louis, BJC Healthcare, University of Missouri – St. Louis, St. Louis University, and the Missouri Botanical Garden to capture the commercial benefits of university and regional corporate research for St. Louis. Since inception, Cortex has completed or has under construction 1.6 million square feet of new and rehabilitated space totaling $500 million of investment and generating 3,150 technology-related jobs. To learn more about Cortex Innovation Community, visit www.cortexstl.com.