58th street rain garden

The planting of Benson’s 58th Street Rain Garden.

All cities share one key characteristic: they’re full of people, buildings and businesses. Because everyone shares the same relative space, air and water, environmental impacts are concentrated in smaller areas, including waterways.

Urban waters take on large amounts of pollution from a variety of sources, including industrial discharges, trucks and cars, residential/commercial wastewater, trash and polluted stormwater runoff from urban landscapes.

Benson’s 58th Street Rain Garden is part of the Maple Street Corridor Project, which was launched by Omaha by Design, the City of Omaha and local groups in 2008. This collaborative process resulted in the development of a new streetscape design for Maple Street in downtown Benson, a housing and retail market analysis, and a community branding initiative designed to spark civic pride and investment in redevelopment opportunities. The east gateway to downtown Benson, where the garden is located, is the first large-scale component of the streetscape design to be implemented.

The 58th Street Rain Garden is designed to manage stormwater quantity and improve water quality. During a rain storm, gravel and other debris is captured in small depressions at the end of the street. The rain water is then filtered as it passes through large boulders and the rock surrounding the retaining wall.

During a gentle storm event, rain water continues to pass slowly through the rock layers below the boulder-lined channel until it reaches the rain garden. When intense rainfall occurs, the boulder-lined channel provides a path for the excess rain water to flow toward the rain garden. The boulder-lined channel has been terraced to reduce the potential for erosion during larger storm events.

When a storm event subsides, the captured rain water is used by the garden’s plants and soaks into the ground within 24 hours. The garden plants, many of them regionally native, have been selected for their hardiness and adaptability to drought as well as their garden location (dry conditions along edges, wetter conditions in the bottom). They require relatively low maintenance and provide colorful blooming throughout the growing season as well as fall color and interesting winter fruit, stems and foliage.

the plants

  • Firedance First Editions Dogwood
  • Jim Dandy Holly
  • Red Sprite Holly
  • Summer Wine Ninebark
  • Gro-Low Sumac
  • Paint the Town Rose
  • Arkansas Amsonia
  • Purple Dome Aster
  • Wood’s Purple Aster
  • False Indigo
  • Sideoats Grama
  • Purple Poppy Mallow
  • Palm Sedge
  • Hot Lips Pink Turtlehead
  • Phantom Mist Flower
  • Caesar’s Brother Iris
  • Kobold Gayfeather
  • Petite Delight Bee Balm
  • Heavy Metal Switch Grass
  • American Mountain Mint
  • Little Lemon Goldenrod
  • Pennsylvania Sedge
  • Fox Sedge
  • Prairiefire Crabapple
  • Blue Grama