Rebuild Repair Recycle: Capitol Region Watershed District moves

Posted on 14 June 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Capitol Region Watershed District is now located at 595 Aldine Street. Its neighborhood assets will soon include a pocket park for public use, and a watershed learning center. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

Capitol Region Watershed District (CRWD) has moved into the Midway neighborhood at 595 Aldine St.
Administrator Mark Doneux said, “CRWD followed the City of St. Paul’s Sustainable Building Policy, and the result is a stunningly renovated building that meets the standards of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).”
Their office building was formerly occupied by MacQueen Equipment, which serviced and repaired municipal machinery.

CRWD is one of 45 watershed districts in the state of Minnesota. It is a special purpose unit of government whose staff members have agreed not to seal themselves off from the community they serve.
The new location is in the heart of a residential neighborhood, and CRWD is making their space accessible to the community in a number of ways.
One of the community highlights is a pocket park still under construction in the NE corner of the property, which will combine natural and built environments with interactive elements for neighbors, visitors, and staff to enjoy.
CRWD is also creating a community watershed learning center and will offer on-site educational opportunities to showcase its work protecting, managing, and improving water resources in the watershed (which includes Como Lake, Crosby Lake, Loeb Lake, Lake McCarrons, and the Mississippi River.)
A gathering room at CRWD is available for public meetings between 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The room has a maximum capacity of 94, and can be reserved by community members and partner organizations. Use of the space includes access to a kitchenette, tables and chairs, a projector, and lectern with microphone. Call the main desk at 651-644-8888 to inquire.

Stewardship Grants help homeowners, businesses, schools, and community organizations build projects that prevent stormwater pollution. Awards range from $300-$40,000 and applications are accepted year-round. Visit www.capitolregionwd.org to learn more. (Photo by Margie O’Loughlin)

CRWD held four Community Watershed Conversations across St. Paul in May and early June. Anna Eleria is division manager with CRWD’s department of planning, projects and grants.
At a meeting held at the Hallie Q. Brown Community Center, she said, “Our watershed district is the most urban in the state, and that provides some unique challenges. We cover 41 square miles, five lakes, and over 500 miles of storm sewers – every one of which drains into the Mississippi River. One twentieth of the population of the state lives within our boundaries.”
The Watershed Community Conversations were a chance for community members to help CRWD draw their road map for the next 10 years. For readers who weren’t able to attend but would still like to share their thoughts, visit bit.lyCRWDsurvey. Public comments will be taken until June 30, 2019.
Eleria said, “Our organization is 20 years old, and we’ve had many successes over the last two decades. CRWD often works on infrastructure projects that can’t be seen (like the rainwater capture and re-use system at Allianz Field), but we’re also helping to beautify the neighborhood in ways that are very visible.”
Their Stewardship Grant Program, which started in 2005, is one such example. Watershed residents, schools, and businesses are eligible to apply. Grantees receive a free site visit, as well as technical and financial support for installing a rain garden on their property.
In the Hamline-Midway neighborhood alone, 147 raingardens have been designed and installed since the program began.
A grand opening for CRWD is planned for later this summer.