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Junction Community Green Infrastructure Projects

By Alexis Smith
Special to The Truth

This year has been a time of action! The Junction area neighborhood and partners have been busy kicking off their various plans for environmental protection, ensuring the residents have access to a sustainable and safe community. Among the various green infrastructure installations are rain gardens, community gardens, bioswales and community parks.

What is the Community Doing Now?

The new Junction Park located at the corner of Nebraska and Junction has finally broken ground this summer! Thanks to Junction Coalition’s collaborations with the City of Toledo and the National Parks Association, the community was able to fund the construction of a park by way of the Disney grant.

The park will include four pillars, symbolic of the Junction Coalition’s founding principles, ornately decorated park benches, a walk-trail, and an amphitheater stage. What was once a barren, purposeless empty lot is going to be transformed into a space of celebration, peace and recreation. With the installation of amphitheater, Junction also hopes to see growth in the economic investment in the community. 

On the 1300 block of Blum, Junction Coalition with the help of Tree Toledo, Lucas County Soil & Water, TMACOG, LandBank, and Partners for Clean Streams has successfully installed both a rain garden and a community-food garden, commonly known as “What Blooms on Blum.”

The rain garden and community garden were installed during the summer of 2017 and now are in full bloom and function. The rain garden helps combat storm-water run-off and flooding during heavy rain activity. It also has plants and vegetation native to Ohio which helps enrich the soil and allows much of our native birds and insects to return to their natural habitats. All in hopes of restoring our ecosystem.

The community garden is growing numerous edible fruits and vegetables to help combat the existing food dessert, and provide the community with its on sustainable means of resources. These facilities are maintained and maintenanced by the surrounding neighbors, where they have adopted the principle of “if you take a fruit or vegetable, pick a weed.”

With the help of the City of Toledo Environmental Services, the churches in the community are also doing their part in the revitalization and beautification plans. Glass City church has constructed a rain garden, while People’s Church has installed a prayer garden known as “Sacred Grounds.”

Why It Matters

Back in August of 2014 Toledo experienced a toxic contamination of its tap water. This outbreak is commonly known as the Toledo Water Crisis. During this time, harmful algal bloom caused primarily by the pollutants like farm and sewage run-offs. This run-off often contains high-levels of phosphorus which then feeds the harmful algal bloom.

The Junction community found themselves in a compromising situation when the residents (like many other Toledoans) had to fend for themselves in this crisis. Ingesting this contaminated water can negatively affect the brain, can cause nausea, diarrhea, and even sickness and/or death among pets and infants. 

After the crisis abated, the community did not stop there. Many of the concerned citizens wanted to ensure this did not happen again by taking a more active role in protecting their drinking water. Part of that protection meant cracking down on littering and garbage collection in the streets, installing rain gardens, community gardens, and bioswales, and educating and creating awareness about the protection of freshwater sources.

Citizens are also partnering with the city’s government officials, ensuring that they are appropriately keeping their constituents abreast on the state of the drinking water and any alerts in a timely fashion. Collaborations and partnerships are forming with Junction Coalition, Toledoans for Safe Water & Advocates for Clean Lake Erie, who all Toledo residents looking to protect our most precious natural resource.

What’s Next?

 Jill Ryan, director of Freshwater Future is determined to work with the Junction Coalition and other organizations to ensure community education and policy change takes place. She shared her concerns about the on-going issues surrounding drinking water: “There has been insufficient notice of what the state of Ohio has done to ensure regulatory action of phosphorus run-off takes place. There needs to be a plan of action before and after a crisis hits.” 

As we near the five-year anniversary of the Toledo Water Crisis, and on the cusp of a rumored second outbreak, community members have a couple questions on their minds that they intend to ask their local officials about. The community poses the following questions to our city officials:

      How comfortable and confident can citizens be in Toledo’s tap water?

      What is the city’s before and after plan if a second crisis does occur?

      Why isn’t the drinking water dashboard alert on the front page of the city’s website?

      Is there a plan for regulatory action for run-off and how are we as citizens are to be updated?

            The Junction Coalition with the help Freshwater Future, Great Lakes Alliance, Partners for Clean Streams, Ohio Environmental Council, American Rivers, National Wildlife Federation  and many other local and national environmental groups continue to educate the public about how to protect our natural resources. Junction Coalition is gearing up to have a full media blast of their upcoming events, alerts, and information as well as disaster preparedness seminar in September, 2019.






Copyright © 2019 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 08/08/19 19:30:46 -0400.

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