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Rain Garden Helps Spruce Up Suffolk County Parking Lot

Rain garden in Riverhead parking lot (credit: CBS 2)

Rain garden in Riverhead parking lot (credit: CBS 2)

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RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The concrete jungle went a little green after a Riverhead office building added a rain garden to its parking lot.

It’s a first on Long Island and it came at the expense of five extra spaces in the parking lot, but officials believe it may prevent some flooding.

Sharon Frost of  Suffolk County Soil and Water Conservation told CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff, “It’s a very green way to design a parking lot.”

The garden soaks up rain — as much as 3 inches of it — to help stop the flooding that used to happen. Now when it rains, the plants get water and the rest gets filtered through the soil. It also cuts out polluted storm water runoff.

“Everybody loves it. We’ve had a lot of positive response,” Frost said.

Suffolk legislator Ed Romaine has proposed more rain gardens across the county.

“This is a natural way to handle storm runoff,” Romaine told CBS 2’s Gusoff.

“Public Works wants to blacktop everything. They build parking lots and a rain garden is something that was kind of alien to Public Works, but this is a type of thing that we should be doing in all of our parking lots,” Romaine said.

Supporters of the rain gardens said they’re a lot prettier than storm drains and cheaper, too.

The rain garden cost $6,000 to build, with most of the funding coming from the New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee.

Share your thoughts on adding rain gardens across Suffolk County in our comments section below.