St. Casmir Parish in Cleveland hosted a workshop sponsored by the Western Reserve Resource Conservation & Development Council recently to present the parish’s just-completed Green Infrastructure project. The process took about two years to complete, making St. Casimir, 8223 Sowinski Ave., Cleveland, the first Green Infrastructure parish in the Diocese of Cleveland.
The parish received a grant in 2016 from the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District to make green changes to the infrastructure of the church, including installation of permeable pavers and bio-retention areas and the installation of rain barrels on parish grounds.
Both the permeable pavers and bio-retention areas are designed to collect water runoff that previously would have been collected in the sewers. They allow the water to be absorbed into the ground. In addition, the rain barrels provide an opportunity for water to be collected in a large barrel rather than the water being collected by a gutter and taken directly to the sewer system. By keeping water out of the sewers, the parish is helping to prevent overflow runoff.
These stormwater practices not only lower the parish’s sewer bills, but also promote the mission of taking care of the planet, as espoused by Pope Francis in his encyclical “Laudato Si,” which talks about the care of our common home. Much of the inspiration for the St. Casimir project comes from the belief that people should take care of the planet God has entrusted to humanity. Parish officials said they hope that this project will inspire others to become greener as well.
Among the entities that helped sponsor and make the project a reality are Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, Bramhall Engineering, Licursi Construction Inc., Ohio Department of Agriculture, the city of Cleveland, Cuyahoga Soil & Water Conservation District, Lake Soil & Water Conservation District, Wilson Elementary School, Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Western Reserve Rescource Conservation & Development Council, Doan Brook Watershed Partnership, Ohio Interfaith Council and ProVision Impressions.