I moved across the country-Corvallis, Oregon to Syracuse, New York- a few months ago. My positive outlook guaranteed me that I would find a plant related job. I began my search and what I found will surprise non-Syracuse residents, for that matter those that reside here: Syracuse is one of ten cities the EPA named, “a model city for green infrastructure”. Syracuse may ask itself, “how did I get here?”
In 1988 a nonprofit organization, Atlantic States Legal Foundation, sued Onondaga County. They did this because Onondaga Lake and its watershed were polluted to the point that it was affecting the health of the public. The city was forced to combat its problem and they implemented many gray infrastructure projects over twenty years. Plans to build several sewage plants, one in the heart of their downtown, were bounced around and about to go through. Then in 2008 a savior came; County Executive, Joanne Mahoney halted the plans of the sewage plants and instead had a better idea. She proposed to do things a different way, one that might not destroy a city, but make it grow. She started “Save the Rain” a plan to install 50 projects to direct water into the ground instead of the sewer system. Now Onondaga County Save the Rain is getting national recognition and has made Syracuse a forerunner in green infrastructure.
I found this information easily while attending a public forum at the local zoo. I had heard about the meeting through-I don’t want to admit it-Facebook. Why is Save the Rain botanical? Green infrastructure usually has something to do with plants, right? Yep. Many of the 50 projects utilize plants, through greenroofs, rain gardens, and city-wide tree planting.
Now, everywhere in I go in Syracuse I notice a new project. On my daily outing with my dog, we walk through the James Pass Arboretum, a work in progress of two rain gardens. As I drive to my house, I pass a newly renovated parking lot on Fayette street. When I fail to replace the thrill of the Portland Timbers by attending the Corvallis Knights games, above my head is one of the largest greenroofs in Central New York. My neighborhood library is in the process of receiving a greenroof makeover, as if its retro colored bookshelves weren’t cool enough!
A great start in the botanical search of my new home, Syracuse, New York.