Grant Funds Awarded to Roberts Academy for Campus Improvements

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Through a new partnership between Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS), the Mill Creek Watershed Council of Communities (Council), and the Metropolitan Sewer District of Cincinnati (MSD), over $350,000 will be invested in green infrastructure on the Roberts Academy campus. The project delivers sustainable stormwater management, water quality improvement, a desired community amenity in the form a newly landscaped detention basin with a recreational trail and educational signage, and an outdoor classroom for Roberts Academy students.

“This Roberts Academy “Front Yard” Demonstration Project award is a testament to the interconnection of neighborhood revitalization and environmental stewardship” said Jennifer Eismeier, executive director of the Council. “This project provides a long-sought recreation and gathering space for the community and improves water quality in the Mill Creek by reducing the volume and pollutant loads of stormwater entering the combined sewer system and, ultimately, the stream.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded $198,000 through Section 319 of the Clean Water Act to fund the Roberts Academy project. These dollars are administered through the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s Division of Surface Water. MSD, along with CPS, the Council and the Community Learning Center Institute, pledged required, matching funds in excess of $150,000. Water quality benefits of the project include reduction in annual stormwater volume to the combined sewer of approximately 1.25 million gallons per year, and reductions in nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment loads to the Mill Creek. The project also complements strategic sewer separation improvements and combined sewer overflow volume reduction anticipated with MSD’s completion of the proposed Grand Avenue and Selim Avenue Sewer Project.

Improved areas will be planted with native trees and shrubs to boost bird and butterfly habitat and enhance the appearance of the campus.  A planned recreational trail and educational signage will provide a gathering area for neighborhood residents, a community priority identified in the Roberts Academy Master Plan, and a new setting for Roberts Academy students to learn the science of watershed management.

This project offers Roberts Academy a unique opportunity to distinguish itself as a leader within CPS and Paideia community learning centers across the country. “We are extremely excited at Roberts Academy to be working in collaboration with MSDGC and the Council. This opportunity continues to build relationships with the community for a safe, clean environment while providing multiple opportunities for our students, families, staff and community members to enjoy and learn about environmental stewardship and stormwater management.  This project brings all of us one step closer to our vision of Roberts Academy being an integral part of ongoing community revitalization,” said Vera Brooks, principal of Roberts Academy.

Construction is scheduled to begin in summer 2014. Integration with planned community and Roberts Academy events will give students and neighborhood residents alike, the opportunity to learn more about project benefits and have a say in project design elements.

Roberts Academy is located at 1702 Grand Avenue in the City of Cincinnati’s Price Hill neighborhood.

Cincinnati Public Schools – which ranks among the top Ohio districts for students’ learning growth – offers families more high-quality school choices and academic programs than any other system in the Tristate region. The district’s innovative approach to education, investment in effective and caring teachers, and vast array of collaborative partnerships have accelerated school performance to the highest level in decades – ensuring that its 33,000 students in grades preschool to 12 are able to thrive and graduate prepared for successful lives in the 21st century. CPS operates 56 schools spread across 90 square miles. To learn more, visit www.cps-k12.org.

The Council is a non-profit organization founded in 1995 by an agreement between 17 local governmental entities within the Mill Creek drainage basin. Today, the Council works to achieve the vision of a restored Mill Creek that is an asset to Greater Cincinnati. The Council has supported restoration projects, acted as a voice for the watershed, and worked to unify the many communities around our shared water resource. Learn more at www.millcreekwatershed.org. 

MSD protects the public’s health and the environment through professional water reclamation and watershed management. MSD collects and treats more than 180 million gallons of sewage daily from 43 municipalities, villages, and townships in Greater Cincinnati through 3,000 miles of sanitary or combined sewers.

For more information, contact Tracy Power, Community Learning Center resource coordinator, at (513) 363-4678 or powertr@cps-k12.org.

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