When old stormwater ponds are forgotten, they can become eyesores and not function at 100%. To fix this issue in Prince George’s County, the Department of Public Works and Transportation (DPW&T) began the Stormwater Pond Retrofit and Beautification program. The program offers planting and site design, amenities where appropriate, and implementation of designed elements, creating community assets from these sometimes problem sites. The Neighborhood Design Center (NDC) supports DPW&T’s initiative by providing design and community engagement services to HOAs that apply to the County to have their stormwater facilities considered for the program. These landscapes are often deep within the fabric of the community, but overlooked. They have special potential to become much needed green space, a place for retreat and enjoyment in communities with not enough shared outdoor spaces, and NDC is here to help you fulfill that potential.
Through this collaborative process, multiple issues are resolved together. DPW&T is tasked with maintaining over 400 facilities throughout the County, which is a big endeavor. Participants in this program sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the County saying that they will officially take on landscape maintenance of these spaces. Since many communities already do this, the MOU generally formalizes an existing relationship. An added benefit is that by making these spaces desirable landscapes, they increase the amount of people who can recognize a problem and alert the County before it becomes a particularly costly issue. By creating more beautiful landscapes, we invite residents to interact with their environments more, to inspire a sense of ownership and a desire to take care of the land on which they live, building more community pride. And, of course, the neighborhoods gain attractive and functional common space!
Once a community is admitted, NDC contacts the community representative and has a discussion about how the community would like to use the space and what they’d like to see and maintain. Our designer, based on site visits, the technical restrictions of each site, and the HOA’s goals, creates conceptual plans and plant palettes to present to the community at one of their HOA meetings. Based on that feedback, the designer finalizes the plans and creates detailed planting plans, which are submitted to the County. DPW&T will then install the landscape after the community has signed their MOU and the functional improvements have been implemented at the location.
For more information about Stormwater Pond Retrofit and Beautification, please contact Rachel McNamara, Program Manager, at 301.830.8519 or firstname.lastname@example.org.