Two outdated pieces of blacktop are set to get green — in theory, not actually in color.
The cities of Sandusky and Vermilion recently received state grants to re-engineer two popular parking lots, both near Lake Erie, installing more environmentally friendly surfaces.
Both the Jackson Street lot in Sandusky and the Showse lot in Vermilion will get porous pavements, allowing rainwater to seep through.
The current pavements — both in states of disrepair — are impervious, meaning water can’t pass through into the ground. When heavy rains fall, the water runs off the pavement into ditches and waterways, possibly damaging or polluting them.
“The pervious pavement will help to reduce localized flooding and combined sewer overflows with the reduction in volume that enters the local waterways and infrastructure by simply allowing the water to infiltrate into the pavement before it overburdens the local water systems,” said Crystal Dymond, Erie Soil and Water Conservation District’s storm water program coordinator.
This grant also helps satisfy many unfunded EPA regulations local communities must abide by to clean up the environment.
“The reduction in runoff also assists in reducing harmful algal blooms and recharging ground water,” Dymond said. “Overall, pervious pavement is a best-management practice that any homeowner, business and industrial lot can do that would make a big impact in our water quality.”
Work is scheduled to start soon and be completed before September for the two properties:
Location No. 1: Jackson Street parking lot
• Main uses of area: People park for free in this 17,000-square-foot public space when they shop, eat and walk around the downtown area.
• Grant amount: $97,700 to repave the northern half of this parking lot. Sandusky officials will work toward finding funds to improve the southern half.
• Current condition: “The current deteriorating condition of the asphalt has caused multiple cracks and potholes to form, ultimately destroying the original grade and drainage path,” Dymond said.
Location No. 2: Showse Park parking lot
• Main uses of area: People park here for free when they go fishing, swimming or lounging at this park.
• Grant amount: $80,800 plus $41,600 in funds from Vermilion’s budget.
• Current condition: "The parking lot was deteriorated, cracked and falling part,” Dymond said. “It’s causing problems, and the city has wanted to redo it for a couple years.”