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A Green Infrastructure Demonstration Site

In March 2022, with the support of Town of Superior Mayor Mila Besich, Ashley Hullinger of the University of Arizona Water Resources Research Center (WRRC) and Raluca Mihalcescu of Arizona Water Company (AWC) applied for and received a $12,000 grant from the WaterNow Alliance and River Network on behalf of the Town of Superior. The goal of the grant is to increase the collective impact of both organizations while developing a project that would support the water management and environmental goals of the Town and AWC.

With guidance from Queen Creek Working Group and non-profit partners in the area, a green infrastructure project was identified to be a beneficial use of the funds. Green infrastructure uses low impact features (like rainwater harvesting basins, curb cuts, and rainwater collection tanks) and living systems to capture and filter stormwater. These features allow storm water to better infiltrate, or soak into, the ground to reduce flooding and erosion during storms. They also improve water quality, and support native and desert-adapted plants without additional irrigation.

With the help of a new Technical Advisory Committee, the Township Lot on Coleman Alley was selected as a prime location for a Green Infrastructure Demonstration site. This lot sees a lot of rainwater flow during rain events which adds to the heavy rain experienced on Main Street. The goals of this site are to:

•  Capture rainwater in constructed basins and tanks to irrigate native plant and tree species 

•  Help slow down stormwater and reduce flooding on Main Street

•  Transform the empty lot into a beautiful public space and amenity

Volunteers at the January 6th Community Workshop

Project Timeline

March 2022:

Representatives from WRRC and AWC applied for and got into the WaterNow Alliance and River Network Grant program

September 2022:

Grant funds delivered to the Town of Superior for the Green Infrastructure Project from WaterNow Alliance and River Network

December 2022:

Coleman Alley Lot was selected for the site of the Green Infrastructure Project. Town Of Superior Council Approved using the lot for the project.

March 2023:

Landscape Architect Kaylee Colter of Eighty-Eight Acres was selected for the project and began creating conceptual designs for the lot.

    • Coleman Alley had Blue Stake services performed on-site to identify utility lines
    • A percolation test was conducted at Coleman Alley to determine how well the water would soak into the ground when the rain garden was installed

May 2023:

Arizona Water Company presented to the Town of Superior Council about the status of the park. Town Council submitted comments to the conceptual plan.

August 2023:

  • The Advisory Committee met to review the project cost estimate and funding needs.
  • Additional funding was provided by Rebuild Superior to cover remaining budget needs and Resolution Copper volunteered to provide funding to the Town for future needs at the park.
  • Boyce Thompson Arboretum (BTA) volunteered to source, provide, and deliver plant material.

September 2023:

Final landscape designs were completed and approved.

October 2023:

  • Construction began on converting the lot into a rainwater harvesting garden.
  • The Advisory Committee met to discuss project updates and create a plan for a community volunteer planting workshop.

January 2024:

On January 6th, 2024, a community workshop was held where plants from the BTA were planted, a rain tank was installed, gabion retention walls were completed, and grading and installation of rainwater harvesting basins were finished

Coming Up

Thanks to the Town, local volunteers, and organizations like Rebuild Superior, Resolution Copper, the Boyce Thompson Arboretum, and Arizona Water Company, the January 6th workshop was successful in completing a significant amount of work, as detailed in the timeline above. Upcoming tasks include installing irrigation and adding rock mulch basins and gravel for the walkways.

Additionally, signage will be installed on-site to highlight the rainwater harvesting techniques being demonstrated and to identify the featured plants. There will be a ribbon-cutting event upon project completion, along with on-site educational opportunities to learn more about green infrastructure.