Kentucky’s first “green” housing community: Phase 1 funded by the Division of Water is complete

Western Kentucky University’s (WKU) Center for Environmental Education and Sustainability was the recipient of a Clean Water Act Section 319(h) grant for $655,000 from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Kentucky Division of Water to create Durbin Estates, a green housing community, in the city of Bowling Green. WKU partnered with Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit agency that builds and repairs homes to provide affordable housing to those in need, and enlisted several state and local groups to integrate green infrastructure in the development to reduce nonpoint source pollution. WKU students from a variety of educational programs have participated in the design and development of the community.

Nonpoint source pollution is water pollution that comes from sources including stormwater runoff, drainage, or seepage from agricultural and urban areas. Section 319(h) of the Clean Water Act provides states funding to support nonpoint source management (NPS) programs. A Section 319(h) grant funded the first phase of the Durbin Estate project.

The Division of Water’s Nonpoint Source and Basin Team section worked closely with the project partners to develop a multifaceted approach. The project not only addresses the stormwater runoff from the development but allows the site to serve as an education and training center for area developers and Habitat for Humanity chapters across the commonwealth.  Throughout the project Division of Water staff provided support and oversight by attending project meetings, reviewing designs and collaborating on the development of educational materials.

Durbin Estates will incorporate up to 50 housing units, a community center and outdoor amphitheater. Walking trails, community gardens, rain gardens, trails with signage identifying a variety of trees and vegetation are located throughout the community. Dishman-McGinnis Elementary School, Bowling Green’s newly constructed elementary school, is located across from Durbin Estates. The community will serve as an extended outdoor classroom for the school. In addition to the educational opportunities, individuals, community groups and residents will have volunteer opportunities to help maintain the green infrastructure.

Nancy Givens, WKU Sustainability Programs Development Coordinator and manager  of the grant, has announced the “end of grant celebration” for Phase 1 of the multi-phase project. WKU and Habitat for Humanity will provide a statewide demonstration of Durbin Estates on Monday, June 30, 2014, at 9:00 a.m.

The ceremony will be held at the Dishman-McGinnis Elementary School and will be followed by a site tour of Durbin Estates.

For more information about WKU and Habitat for Humanity’s Durbin Estates, contact Nancy Givens at (270) 745-2842.

For a view of the landscape design, please access this link:https://www.wku.edu/cees/images/maps/durbin_landscape_design.jpg

For more information about Kentucky’s Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Program please access http://water.ky.gov/nsp/Pages/default.aspx or contact Brooke Shireman, Watershed Management Branch, at 502-564-3410 or Brooke.Shireman@ky.gov .

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