Rains Gardens Enhance Church Landscape

Nov. 30, 2022

Part of Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church’s mission is to foster “community health and reconciliation within their vibrant congregation.” This project, with the primary goal securing utility funding to develop a community-driven, multi-benefit green stormwater infrastructure retrofit on their site, helped that mission. While enhancing curb appeal and increasing community pride, this project maximizes stormwater capture and infiltration while offering community-identified co-benefits, including enhancing curb appeal and increasing community pride. 

The Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church Rainscaping project focused on seven goals: expand nature in a highly paved community; increase resilience to climate hazards; improve poverty; invest in economic stability; create spaces to facilitate community cohesion; increase community participation and power and build trust and acknowledge past harms.  

In regard to stormwater management, Greenprint Partners approached the church with a proposal to seek MSD Project Clear Rainscaping Grant funds to pay for a retrofit that included five rain gardens. According to the project team, MSD Project Clear is committed to spending $100 million in rainscaping investments, with an overall goal of reducing combined sewer overflows to the Mississippi River.   

The church is located in St. Louis’ Lewis Place neighborhood, which is home to a community of color, 44% of whom are also considered low income. 

“Communities of color from coast to coast are disproportionately impacted by flooding and water pollution. At the same time, they lack access to vibrant green space, which is critical - now more than ever - to our physical and mental health,” Greenprint CEO April Mendez said. “Done well, and with racial equity as a core value, rainscaping is about more than managing stormwater. It can improve quality of life for all communities by improving health, reducing stress, and increasing community pride and sense of belonging.” 

To date, the team said the vegetation in the rain gardens is in establishment period, and each year, the rain gardens are collecting nearly 1.5 million gallons of rainwater from nearly five acres of proximate impervious surface. 

Location: St. Louis, Missouri 

Cost: $787,198 

Size: Manages 1,500,000 gallons annually from 134,013 square feet of impervious area 

Owner: Dr. Donald Ray McNeal, Senior Pastor, Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church 

Manager: Jim Sparber, PE, Greenprint Partners 

Designer: Hannah Kacprzak, PE, Greenprint Partners 

Contractors: RES, Fred M. Luth & Sons, and Two Alpha