Stormwater groups given design challenge to Chattanooga planners

Stormwater groups given design challenge to Chattanooga planners

March 17th, 2014 by Yolanda Putman in Local Regional News

Stormwater bubbles out of a sewer grate off East 28th Street.

Photo by Dan Henry /Times Free Press.

Don't just meet the EPA's new standard for stormwater management; create a project that will bring residents a better quality of life, Don Green, Chattanooga's water quality supervisor, told a group of planners, architects and engineers this week.

"We're looking to be blown away," he said.

Green spoke to a room full of people interested in the city's first Low Impact Design Challenge, a competition to come up with the most creative, cost-effective and helpful ways to implement the Environmental Protection Agency's new stormwater management standards.

First prize is $10,000, with $3,000 for the runner-up. The third-place winner gets $1,000. One "People's Choice" winner will receive $2,000.

This is not a drill, Green said. There will be construction based on the designs chosen.

There are new stormwater regulations and guidelines coming out in December, said Michael Walton, executive director of Green Spaces.

The competition aims to introduce people to those guidelines in such a way that they solve the problems, but also come up with great ideas that improve quality of life and "create great places that are active and lively," he said.

Contest participants have four sites that they may consider designing for stormwater management improvements:

• Northgate Mall

• Cherokee Boulevard

• Broad Street

• Bonny Oaks Drive

These locations were selected because they offer different design situations, ranging from a sea of asphalt at Northgate Mall to a streetscape area on Cherokee Boulevard where a designer would have to consider pedestrians and motorists.

There is no charge to enter the competition.

Lyndhurst Foundation is funding the design competition through Green Spaces.

Registration for the contest started Thursday and closes April 7.

Organizers say they hope to see some student presentations about stormwater management, even if it's just a poster-board drawing.

Contact staff writer Yolanda Putman at yputman@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6431.