The town of Edmonston was recognized by the White House last week for its green street project which has completely transformed one of the town’s streets into a fully environmental responsible street.

“This is a great day for the Town of Edmonston and Prince George’s County.  To be honored by President Obama and The White House as a model of best practices for environmental sustainability is an amazing accomplishment and testament to the work the Town achieved,” stated Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker.
Aided by the Chesapeake Bay Trust, the town of Edmonston used its proximity to the Anacostia River to help in transforming Decatur Street. According to town officials, the mayor and residents decided to take action after years of flooding from poor environmental practices.

Associate executive director and chief scientist of the Chesapeake Bay Trust, Jana Davis, Ph.D., said this was an important project because many people often take for granted how the environment affects their day-to-day lives.

“As we go about our busy lives, we often forget the value natural resources bring to our daily routine,” said Davis. “Those fortunate enough to have green spaces in their communities often busily drive past the neighborhood park without a glance on the way to work.  At times we take for granted the trees providing shade for and adding property value to our homes.”

The main accomplishment of the project is storm water retention and filtration. Instead of having storm water or rain runoff be diverted into the town’s sewers, it will instead be diverted into specially landscaped areas which will filter the water to through the ground. That ground will be a green space full of trees and plants.

One thing that has happened was the creation of a native tree canopy. The town restored large trees such as oaks, maples and sycamores to create a natural filtration of airborne pollutants attract more watershed birds and decrease summer heat.

The town also used as much recycled materials in repaving the roads and sidewalks as possible as well. According to the project, the town used milled asphalt, concrete and glass.

All of these things are done with the Chesapeake Bay in mind. Project officials say that this street will significantly lighten the town’s environmental footprint on the bay.

“When it rains, the water picks up pollutants that have collected on parking lots, streets and farms, and moves them into storm drains and tributaries into our rivers,” the project said in a statement.  “River currents carry much of these pollutants into the Bay, where they then settle and cause destructive imbalances, killing crabs, oysters and other wildlife.   We cannot save the Bay without better storm water practices, and green streets are key if we want to fix the pollution problem.”

Baker took time out to personally recognize former Edmonston Mayor Adam Ortiz for his leadership on the project, the first of its kind in Maryland.

“On a personal note, I want to congratulate former Mayor, and now a member of my administration as CountyStat manager, Adam Ortiz for his hard work and bold leadership to earn this recognition,” Baker continued.  “The innovation and ingenuity Adam used as Mayor of Edmonston is now being utilized for all Prince Georgians in his role as Manager of CountyStat.”

George Barnette

Special to the AFRO