St. Casimir Church, in the Cleveland Catholic Diocese, received a Green Infrastructure Grant by the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District to implement green infrastructure practices on its property.
The grant will fund a variety of stormwater management practices installed at the church over the next several months. Those practices will include permeable pavers in the parking lot that will allow water from storm events to soak into the sandy ground at the church instead of flowing into the storm drains and bio retention areas behind the church and convent to allow the roof water to collect into basins and drain into the sandy soil instead of running off to the nearest sewer.
“We see our footprint as being typical of many in the City.” says Fr. Eric Orzech, Pastor of Saint Casimir Church. “Historical development being what is was, there are many buildings on our property with very little green space comparably. We simply just tried to do what we could with what we had and the result is going to be significant. We not only hope it sets a useful precedent for others to follow, but it’s a win-win situation for our parish which now will not only make a positive ecological contribution to our area but at the same time benefit by being relieved of the financial burden associated with the Sewer District’s impending assessments based on the amount of non-permeable surfaces.”
“As with the case of our church-reopening, many Partners have come to support this project,” says John Niedzialek, parishioner at St. Casimir Church. The project is sponsored by Bramhall Engineering; the Ohioans for Sustainable Change Council; the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Division of Soil and Water Conservation; the St. Casimir Alumni Association; the Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District; and the Doan Brook Watershed Partners. This project will hopefully help provide an example for other churches, landowners, and businesses to follow as the new Stowmwater requirements are implemented in the region. Niedzialek adds, “As Pope Francis calls on all of us to set an example in stewarding our natural resources for future generations, we at St. Casimir Church see this as another opportunity to do just that while helping to improve our water quality and help our neighborhood become more sustainable.”
Victoria Mills, Director of the Doan Brook Watershed writes “The Doan Brook Watershed Partnership is proud of our partners at St. Casimir Church. Their team showed great leadership in first envisioning a greener campus for the church, then assembling a strong team and a winning design that led to the award of the NEORSD Green Infrastructure grant. Our Partnership collaborated in design meetings and with public outreach, but the St. Casimir community showed fantastic leadership in embracing a new, more environmental direction for their future. The Partnership relies on this kind of leadership within the watershed community. With a small staff, it is impossible to turn the tide on water pollution without all of us tackling the issue, one rain garden at a time, one grant at a time, one decision to protect our great, lake at a time.”
“By carrying out the storm water mitigation project, St. Casimir is actively demonstrating how people of faith care for creation,” said Samantha Miller,Ohioans for Sustainable Change.