PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The ribbon cutting opened a garden that will do much more than beautify the corner Larimer Avenue and East Liberty Boulevard.

It’s called a storm water mitigation garden. Its purpose is to absorb storm water that often floods low lying areas.

“When we build and we create new environments, whether it’s a Target with a large roof, whether it’s housing as we feel in property and we don’t recapture and redirect that water, we see that our systems can overflow,” said state Sen. Jim Ferlo.

No one will ever forget the flooding that caused a tragedy at Washington Boulevard nearby. While it’s admitted that one project would not have prevented the flooding, projects like this can help.

“This can be a model, this can be a model for the region, for the state and for the country,” said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

The garden is located next to the Environmental and Energy Community Outreach Center. It was built with a small grant, and help from the city and neighborhood. The project contains materials that catch and absorb storm water before it has a chance to overload storm sewers.

“We started on the edges with previous concrete,” said landscape architect Lisa Kunst’Varo, “below the concrete is a 12-inch base of gravel that has fine so it becomes a reservoir for the water along that is a bio swell of plants that like to be wet or dry, it doesn’t matter.”

“This is a demonstration project,” said neighborhood volunteer Carolyn Peeks, “it’s an educational tool and it’s an advocacy tool to better organize and rebuild our neighborhoods.”

Peeks says it’s major improvement from the abandoned gas station and run down building that was once on the same corner.

“It means a lot, it means the rebuilding of Larimer, it means there is a future for my kids,” she said.

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