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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Seattle rain gardens go bad


When the Obama Administration started handing out wads of cash to local governments (the "Stimulus"), Big Government Seattle hot-footed it to find ways to spend the money.

Seattle is the rain city. The city spent our debt on an unproven idea called "rain gardens." A rain garden is a catch basin built on a city street with shrubs planted in it. In order to work, a rain garden must have good drainage or else water simply swamps up and the garden rot.

Guess what.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported:

A year after subjecting a Seattle neighborhood to ugly swamps in a rain garden experiment gone awry, the city has proposed removing 10 of the gardens as part of a $500,000 fix.

The city filed notice of the proposal this week, which is part of strategy to fix its failed trial in curbing stormwater in Ballard. Seattle Public Utilities had installed about 50 rain gardens in the neighborhood last year, in hopes they would soak up stormwater runoff and prevent it from flooding sewers.

But instead of getting pretty, water-loving shrubs and grasses in front of their homes, residents got stark, muddy pools that failed to drain. The pools presented drowning risks for kids, breeding grounds for mosquitoes, and slopes that made it hard to find level footing when getting out of a car.

Officials acknowleged the failure earlier this year, saying they had cut corners in soil testing in order to fast-track the Ballard project and get $1.4 million in federal stimulus funds.


The total cost of the total fiasco - $2.1 million. Peanuts in comparison to most government waste, but still -- that's two millionaires worth of waste.

Nobody can waste resources like big government can waste resources.

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