Project Partners: PennDOT, Allegheny College

   

Greening the Gateway is a community greening project designed by Allegheny College students and accomplished in collaboration with the PA Department of Transportation (PennDOT). Located on Rt. 322/Rt.6 along PennDOT's maintenance building property, the project's goals were to beautify and enhance the area, educate the public about native plants, and help restore a sense of pride in the Meadville area.

In December 1997, a panel of local judges, including representatives from PennDOT, selected the student designed landscape plan from among four submissions. The winning design was implemented in April of 1998. Plants were then selected for their abilities to withstand the extremely harsh roadside environment.

As with any project, Greening the Gateway has been a learning experience. After the plantings weathered the first winter, some problems were identified and CEED and PennDOT searched for solutions that would help improve the health of the plantings. For instance, during winter many of the plants were harmed by salt that was intended for the highways. Beginning in the winter of 1999-2000, the shrubs were covered with burlap to protect them from the harsh winter weather. Make a Difference Day volunteers helped with the new plan.

Fortunately, spring volunteers discovered that the protective burlap had worked! The plants were in much better condition. Next, a CEED intern assessed the plants and performed an overall site evaluation. Recommendations for new plantings led to more experimentation with the site.

Greening the Gateway, one of the first CEED projects, continues to be a challenge and a learning experience in the Meadville community.