Tag Archives: beautification

An Alley Blooms

An Alley Blooms

 Finally, it was an alley’s time to shine. Blue Thumb recently hosted a tour of 10672422_10152739480736585_3347332051396641627_nthe first Blooming Alley in Minneapolis, a green project to redesign back alleys. The tour showed that narrow back lanes separating neighbors from one another can be reinvented as places that connect people and function to protect the environment. All it takes is a little know-how, a willingness to think “outside” of the conventional alley, and the synergy of neighbors working together toward a shared goal—key ingredients in a Metro Blooms initiative called Nokomis Neighbors for Clean Water.

 Restoring Lake Nokomis is the ultimate goal. The lake is classified as impaired 10703498_10152739480596585_8131284344578906323_nby the MN Pollution Control Agency, or too polluted to support a healthy ecosystem. Most of that pollution is urban runoff, dirty stormwater that flows through backyards and down paved surfaces such as alleys, eventually reaching the lake. The idea behind a Blooming Alley is simple: invite neighbors on the block to re-invent their alley as a shared common space that also diverts runoff and encourages natural habitat. Think raingardens and permeable pavement, which allow stormwater to filter slowly through soil before reaching the lake, rather than running directly into storm drains.

Read more »

Lake Nokomis Alley Get-Together

On April 12th, 2014 more then 35 neighbors from two blocks in the Lake Nokomis watershed got together to reimagine their alleyway.  Why? How? Where? Was there food? you may be asking.  To answer the most pressing question, yes, there was food.  There was also creativity flowing, neighbors interacting, idea sharing, and community forming.  It was a fantastic event that was made possible by the Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of MN and three awesome block leaders.

The Why:  Lake Nokomis Neighbors for Clean Water is a project that Metro Blooms has been working on with neighborhood and local government partners to clean-up Lake Nokomis by re-inventing backyards and alleyways.  Lake Nokomis is impaired, which means there’s too much pollution in it to support a healthy aquatic ecosystem.  Most of that pollution comes from urban runoff, and most of THAT pollution flows through backyards and down alleyways to reach the lake.  Furthermore, alleys could be such cool spaces for neighbors to interact, and they can be pretty (really!) if we can change the way we view and use them.

Read more »