Bayfront Stormwater Garden: History

  • 1995 - During the summer of 1995 an international team of artists and scientists, lead by Betsy Damon from St. Paul, and Jill Jacoby from Duluth, came together in Chengdu, China with the goal of creating art pertaining to water quality concerns. The end result of a most fantastic journey has been the creation of the Chengdu Stormwater Garden, a 6-acre park that integrates education, water treatment, water awareness, aesthetics, and recreation. A Stormwater Garden brings together art and science to cleanses water in three stages using a settling pond, wetland plant ponds that take up contaminants, and flowform sculptures that aerate and move water.
  • 1996 - Jill brought the idea of a Stormwater Garden to Duluth's Bayfront land use planning process.
  • 1999 - the Mayor of Duluth created a Task Force to attempt to arrive at a compromise between the Equinox Development Corporation's proposal for the Bayfront site (focusing on commercial development) and the Bayfront Visions proposal (which included an arboretum, conservatory and Stormwater Garden). Bayfront Visions is a non-profit organization focused on appropriate development of the Bayfront site. The Task Force recommended a compromise plan that included the Conservatory and Stormwater Gardens from the Bayfront Visions plan, and retail and housing taken from the Equinox plan.
  • 2000 - the Bayfront Visions Group under Jill's leadership received a Minnesota Lake Superior Coastal Program grant to conduct a feasibility study for the Stormwater Garden at the Bayfront location. Shortly afterwards, the City of Duluth hired URS as its consultant to draft a plan for the Bayfront site that incorporated the elements of the Task Force recommendations.
  • 2002 - In order to work more directly on her passion of community water quality projects, Jill left Bayfront Visions and created Sweetwater Alliance in as a vehicle to move the Bayfront Stormwater Garden project forward.
    On October 28, 2002 the Duluth City Council unanimously passed a resolution supporting the Stormwater Garden portion of the Bayfront Master Plan as drafted by the URS consulting firm. Sweetwater Alliance and the City of Duluth are partnered in this project and are now focusing on funding the design stage of this project.
  • 2003 - Sweetwater Alliance receives $59,000 Minnesota Lake Superior Coastal Program grant for design of the Bayfront Stormwater Garden. This is a matching grant and provides half of the total require for design.


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