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Rain garden construction begins

p> Construction is under way on the water garden and patio just outside of the Scottdale Public Library.

The nearly $60,000 project includes a rain garden and permeable concrete, which will allow rain water to run into the ground rather than ponding in the former alleyway or running into the sewage system.

Kathy Hamilton, landscape architect and storm water technician with the Westmoreland Conservation District, said Jacobs Creek Watershed received a federal 319 Grant to help clean up waters in the watershed as well as help with storm water/sewage separation.

About $30,000 of that total grant will pay for the excavation and construction of the rain garden, which will be located at the end of the former alley closest to the Scottdale Community Pool. It will also cover the cost of the permeable concrete for the patio.

"It's not a conventional rain garden as most would think," she said. "It's designed to soak up rain water and the Jacobs Creek Watershed's motivation is to help clean up the water that runs into their watershed."

Hamilton added that the rain garden will also reduce ponding in that area and some of the roof water will go to feed the plants.

"This truly is one more way municipalities can take advantage of federal and state funds to help solve the problem of combined sewer systems," she said. "Getting rid of downspouts in the sewage systems is another easy and inexpensive project municipalities can get involved with."

Nearly $30,000 from an R.K. Mellon Foundation Grant, as well as some other donations, will be used to build additional raised planters for vegetation and purchase some tables with umbrellas and a garden statue.

Library Director Patti Miller said they are also hoping to place benches in the garden that will be paid for by families or individuals in memory of a loved one.

She added that library officials are very excited about the start of the project.

"It really will depend on the weather, but so far it really has been cooperating," Miller said.

When the project is finished, it will cap off all the big projects envisioned by library board members when they began the task of raising money for a new library.

It will also be completely paid for when it is finished.

"We're very excited about the project. I think it will be a very pleasant place for those who work to come over and eat lunch on nice days," she said. "I also think families will be able to use the space for packing a lunch and sitting outside.

It might also be a good meeting spot for the newly formed Book Forum Club where adults will meet the first and third Tuesdays at 3 p.m. to discuss books they recently read.

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