Award Winning Rain Garden

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bioinfiltration garden

You have to check out our newest learning center area, this one outdoors - our new rain garden (also known as a bioinfiltration garden) in the library parking lot.  The Central Platte Natural Resources District has recently selected us as winner of their Community Conservation Award!

As a recipient of Greener Nebraska Towns funds, the City of Grand Island received funding, technical assistance, and educational materials for tree purchases/planting, waterwise landscaping, and related outreach and education. 

The designation also means that Grand Island will be recognized statewide and be relied on to serve as a leader and model for other communities in terms of landscape planning, planting, care and management.

The designation has some wonderful benefits for the community. The planning, tree-planting, waterwise and landscape projects inherent to the program have the potential to improve Grand Island's green infrastructure and provide environmental benefits that will impact the community far into the future.

The part of this grant involving the library focuses on waterwise landscapes. Through the grant, there needed to be implementation of at least one highly visible landscape enhancement effort that clearly demonstrates water conservation and wise stormwater management practices.  

Parking lot rain runoff puts LOTS of water, along with automotive and other pollutants, down the storm sewer drain and eventually into everyone’s water supply.  The project chosen for the library, an OUTDOOR learning center area called a Bioinfiltration Garden, collects water off the south part of the parking lot and filtrates it throughout the garden, instead of letting all that water and pollutants go down the drain and into the groundwater. This “waterwise” project will help Grand Island learn more sustainable environmental practices.

A Long List of Credits for this Fantastic Community Conservation Project

Library Director Steve Fosselman worked with Tonja Carey and Charley Falmlen of the City's Community Development Division as well as Scott Sekutera, Public Works Stormwater Technician to implement this grant.  We are thankful for technical assistance provided by Elizabeth Killinger, Horticulture Extension Educator with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension in Grand Island; Christina Hoyt, Community Landscape Specialist and Justin Evertson, Green Infrastructure Coordinator with the Nebraska Forest Service; project landscape designer Tom Bentley (while employed by Dropseed Studio in Omaha); garden contractor Jeremy Vlcek, owner of Vlcek Gardens; the Library Board and City Council for their support and approvals; and many others along the way during this multi-year project now awaiting completion.  

Most of all, we thank the 65 volunteers who came out on Saturday, September 27th for a community planting day.  Within two hours we had the entire job done, great work volunteers!  Here are some pictures of our fun community planting day.

Matching funds for the Greener Nebraska Towns initiative came from the Nebraska Environmental Trust, a beneficiary of the Nebraska Lottery. It is administered by Nebraska Statewide Arboretum and Nebraska Forest Service. More information can be found at

Local grant match included $10,000 in donations from the Myrtle Grimminger estate in the Edith Abbott Memorial Library project fund of the city’s Special Revenue Fund.