Prince George's hamlet gets high-profile help with 'green' project

By Lisa Rein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 24, 2009; 11:33 AM

The hamlet of Edmonston in Prince George's County will get a visit Tuesday from some high-profile environmental officials as it kicks off a "green street" project intended to transform its main thoroughfare.

Federal Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson will headline the groundbreaking and walking tour of the project, which is ripping up Decatur Street and replacing it with an environmentally friendly road of rain gardens and porous brick, and a canopy of trees.

When the work is done, the street will naturally treat more than 90 percent of the pollution in the storm water that sweeps every year into the Anacostia River next door. The low-lying community near the District line has been beaten up by flooding from the river for years, and officials hope the transformation, along with a new pumping station built in 2007, will alleviate the problem.

Jackson will be joined at noon by local officials, including Mayor Adam Ortiz, who came up with the green street idea. Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) and the contractor plan to be there, too. Workers have begun laying a new sidewalk and the rain gardens.

The project qualified for more than $1 million in federal stimulus money. It will employ about 40 local workers, bringing an economic boost to the industrial suburb split in half by the river, between Kenilworth Avenue and Route 1.

The tour will conclude with lunch and a champagne celebration at La Fondita, Edmonston's only restaurant.

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