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Jeannette bus shelter will protect riders, water community garden | TribLIVE.com
Westmoreland

Jeannette bus shelter will protect riders, water community garden

Stephen Huba
| Thursday, December 27, 2018 1:36 p.m.
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Stephen Huba | Tribune-Review
A close-up of the rainwater collection system that is now part of the bus shelter at Clay Avenue and Seventh Street in downtown Jeannette.
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Stephen Huba | Tribune-Review
A Westmoreland County Transit Authority bus waits in front of a new bus shelter in downtown Jeannette on Thursday. The shelter has been retrofitted with an irrigation system that will water the adjoining Jeannette Greenspaces Community Garden.
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A Westmoreland County Transit Authority bus waits in front of a new bus shelter in downtown Jeannette on Thursday. The shelter has been retrofitted with an irrigation system that will water the adjoining Jeannette Greenspaces Community Garden.

A new bus shelter in downtown Jeannette now doubles as a rainwater-harvesting device for an adjoining community garden.

The Westmoreland County Transit Authority bus shelter recently was installed at the corner of Clay Avenue and Seventh Street and retrofitted with a rainwater collection system. The bus stop sits next to the Jeannette Greenspaces Community Garden, whose plots will be irrigated with water from the new system during the growing season.

“Getting adequate water to the garden is an ongoing issue. The new irrigation system is the type of solution we have been waiting for,” said Lucille Bittner, Jeannette Greenspaces treasurer.

The nonprofit organization began leasing the property from the Westmoreland County Land Bank in 2015 and began gardening there in 2016, said Shelby Michalek, Land Bank marketing coordinator.

The Land Bank raised more than $40,000 to acquire the blighted property, demolish a dilapidated building and fund the development of the garden. The combination bus shelter/irrigation system was an idea that came later in the process.

“As the team was designing the site, people started to gather (at the bus stop), eventually sitting on the sidewalk. It became apparent that riders had no shelter to sit and wait for a bus in, and the garden had no water,” said Land Bank Executive Director April Kopas.

Team member Kathryn Hamilton, a landscape architect and stormwater technician with the Westmoreland Conservation District, suggested that the bus shelter serve a dual purpose.

“It is our intention that the new bus shelter will manage the stormwater runoff and improve the environmental sustainability in the neighborhood,” Hamilton said. “I hope the idea inspires others to (consider) multiple uses for public structures and spaces, especially when it comes to sustaining our urban areas.”

The standard bus shelter was provided by the Westmoreland County Transit Authority and retrofitted by the R.D. Harrer Construction Corp. New concrete work was completed using Federal Transit Administration funds.

Jeannette Greenspaces operates the community garden and sells the produce at a local farmer’s market.

Michalek said the irrigation system will be put to use once the weather breaks to prevent freezing.

Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Stephen at 724-850-1280, shuba@tribweb.com or via Twitter @shuba_trib.

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