The small rivers flowing next to the curb on rainy days are not an unusual sight to neighbors on Antrim Street in Brighton Heights.

But with a recent Love Your Block Grant from the City and some time and energy from the Brighton Heights Citizens Federation, Antrim Street will receive a rain garden to stop the flow of excess water that’s been a seasonal problem throughout Pittsburgh this year.

Kelly Day, a resident of Antrim Street and a member of the Brighton Heights Citizens Federation board, submitted the proposal to the “Love Your Block” project to help solve the water drainage problem. 

“This area in particular is known to flood,” says Day. “I was looking for the most responsible way to handle the water problem.” 

Antrim St. was one of 10 blocks to receive a grant from the city to beautify the area.

The Brighton Heights Citizens Federation is planning a clean up day for the street this Saturday to beautify the block and install the rain garden at the corner of Antrim Street and Richardson Avenue with the grant money. 

The garden will absorb excess water flowing from rooftops and streets helping to keep large amounts from entering into the storm drains. Water passing through the soil of the garden would be cleaned, after which it is either absorbed by plants or reenters the sewage system.

However, the discovery of bacteria in the excess water may delay the installation of the rain garden. It is an initiative that will hopefully be completed in the coming months, as the garden itself would solve the water build up as well as the bacteria problem.

Along with removing the ankle-deep puddles, the garden would add a touch of nature to the city block.

Day had the safety of residents in mind when she submitted the street for the project back in June. The heavily trafficked area, combined with speed and excess water could create problems. 

“We like everything about our neighborhood. My number one reason [for submission] was to improve safety,” she said.  

The Love Your Block project granted $500 for the improvement of the street, an amount matched by the Brighton Heights Citizens Federation. With a total of $1,000, residents of Antrim Street were able to purchase the supplies needed for the project. The initial grant also includes the assistance of the City Public Works Department. 

The two-day event, funded by Pittsburgh’s Love Your Block project and the Brighton Heights Citizens Federation, invites the community to help beautify the street. Volunteers will help residents garden, paint porches and pick up trash.

Though this is the first event designed around the beautification of Antrim Street, it is part of the larger “Antrim Street Beautification Project.” Day sees the board of the Brighton Heights Citizens Federation taking on other projects to improve the area. 

The event will be Saturday September 24, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and continue through Sunday, rain or shine. 

Karin Baker is a student at the University of Pitssburgh. She has been a resident of the city of Pittsburgh for four years.