Tuesday night CUSP attended the Phase II meeting of the 9 Mile Run Rosedale Runoff Reduction Project where community members came together to begin adding their knowledge to the plans for stormwater maintenance projects in the Rosedale area. We used the CUSP Map Wet Weather story to describe the problems with combined and separate sewer systems in the area and the connection between these systems and increased precipitation predicted for our are. In the last 50 years, the amount of rain falling in an extreme rain event has increased 70%, and a rainstorm on Sunday that caused flash flooding and basement backups reminded people that we are in fact experiencing weather like never before. After the CUSP presentation, Nine Mile Run described the focus of their project and the engineer working on modeling the area then explained the specific challenges of the storm sewer layout in that area. Starting the meeting with the CUSP presentation was a salient way to frame the importance of management infrastructure and climate change was brought up repeatedly throughout the rest of the activities.
We intended to use the CUSP Kit Choices in Your Neighborhood to further collect and visualize information from residents, but found that it wasn’t a precise enough tool to gather the comments generated throughout the meeting. It seems to have a more valuable role as a tone-setting tool – beginning a meeting in a casual way that collects enough data to start conversations among participants, and in a way that demonstrates outright the value of participant voices in the activities that follow.