Rain Garden at the Wilshire Triangle

Written by David Boston

“Cloudburst” is a proposed art, rain garden and walk installation along Schieffer Street and into Patterson Park. The project is being developed under the auspices of the City’s Neighborhood Partnering Program (NPP application at the link).

Cloudburst mosaic detail

“Cloudburst” mosaic detail

The focal point of the installation will be five columns covered entirely in mosaic installed in the triangle of Wilshire, Cherrywood and Schieffer Streets. This is where a rain garden is proposed.

Five columns will form a star shaped pattern around the perimeter of the triangle and inside of the walk way. An additional eight columns will lead the viewer along the trail to Patterson Park and the existing art work at the pool house.

The columns will be simple cement block (CMU) pilasters twelve to sixteen feet tall. They will be entirely covered in glass and ceramics with the primary material being Spectrum Silvertone Waterglass.

A floral motif of rose vines and lotuses will spiral around the columns. The background will be primarily blue moon spectrum glass. Within the background numerous other details will emerge on closer observations. The colors will evoke images of sky, clouds, water and rain.

The practical environmental purpose of rain gardens is to collect and filter rain runoff from large impervious surfaces.   In this case, the water from the higher ground and the runoff of the roads will be harvested. The gardens will improve the water quality of Upper Boggy Creek by filtering out pollutants such as pesticides, motor oil, fertilizers, and other chemicals, and will also lower the risk of flooding and erosion.

Rain garden layout

Rain garden layout

The project, however, has additional benefits for the neighborhood.   Connecting Mueller development and Maplewood Elementary School will increase the safety of children walking and cycling to school, and encourage more to do so.

Adults will be able to better enjoy their neighborhood and might be inspired to leave the car at home. This trail alone will bring a greater sense of community to Cherrywood as increased pedestrian use will have neighbors literally crossing paths.

The islands will also serve visually as traffic calming devices, physically improving vehicular safety.

The artwork and improved landscaping will bring fresh air, beauty, and inspiration to both children and adults and will increase the uniqueness of the neighborhood. And in a broader sense, the entire project will bring greater awareness to nature, Upper Boggy Creek, and Austin’s water cycle.

 

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