Cincinnati celebrates new Green Learning Station in Avondale

The Civic Garden Center in Avondale was the gathering point to celebrate the groundbreaking for the Green Learning Station.  The $1.2 million project will eventually transform an old gas station into a learning station that will be a "state-of-the-art laboratory for sustainable practices to gardens and the systems that support them."

The facility - the first of its kind in the Cincinnati region - is striving for LEED-Gold certification.  As a result, the groundbreaking celebrations attracted local leaders like Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls, Brenda and Jim Tarbell, the Board of the Civic Garden Center and even Ohio First Lady Frances Strickland.

"I am thrilled to be here to support the development of the Green Learning Station," said First Lady Strickland at the groundbreaking ceremony on Friday.  "I applaud the Civic Garden Center for pursuing this initiative to provide a free, interactive green gardening and stormwater management learning opportunity for students and the community in southwest Ohio."

As part of the transformative project, the asphalt parking lot of the former SOHIO gas station will be replaced by pervious paving, bioswales and rainwater harvesting units that will capture most of the rainwater that falls onto the surrounding ground.  There will also be three types of green roof systems installed on the Green Learning Station in addition to the region's first sloped green roof on the neighboring Park District building.

The Green Learning Station (map) itself will be used to "educate and inspire school children and their families about sustainable practices" through its green systems in place and by demonstrating affordable technology solutions that can be implemented at home.  Officials with the project also note that home builders, developers and public officials will be able to use it as a demonstration site on how to incorporate green technology into residences, businesses and public spaces.

Green building and sustainability industries have been taking off in Cincinnati recently with the opening of several new businesses and the incorporation of several progressive sustainable technologies that are helping position Cincinnati as a green building and sustainability leader nationally.

Cincinnati-based HGC Construction is building the $1.2 million project and its expected to be complete and open to the public by fall 2010.  The project has been supported financially through a $2 million fund-raising campaign for education by the Civic Garden Center.

Writer: Randy A. Simes
Photography by provided
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