'Green Olympics' held for low-impact design

Teams compete for Hemisfair Park, multi-family housing, Leon Valley roadway projects

SAN ANTONIO - For the first time, the city is holding a contest, hoping people with a passion for green design will be motivated by a lot of green money.

It's the San Antonio Low-Impact Development Design Competition.

Low-impact development -- or LID -- is one of the things that makes the Pearl Brewery development so special.

The San Antonio River Authority wants to lead the way on helping the city go green like the rest of the country -- but in San Antonio-style.

"We are taking site-specific applications of how these best practices can be put into place, given our soil conditions (and) with how our watersheds function, so that we have real examples," said Suzanne Scott, with the San Antonio River Authority. "We're not just taking something from Portland and plopping it down in San Antonio."

That's why the kickoff of the San Antonio LID Design Competition is so important.

It calls upon architects and designers to come up with a plan -- one for Hemisfair Park, one for a multi-use, multi-family home, and one for a roadway in Leon Valley on Evers Road.

The three projects will utilize low-impact sustainable techniques like porous pavement, rain gardens and rain water collection systems.

"We want to make sure that we've got those tools in place that we can educate the entire community about how these best management practices can be put in place as affordable as the traditional methods as well as maintained just as well, if not better," Scott said.

SARA's Karen Bishop said the competition won't just benefit the community.

"The winning teams will get recognized as being the leaders in this community in these practices, so they'll sought out for projects that the city or the county or others have where there's a required that they do LID," she said.

There will be three winners and aside from acclaim, they'll win $15,000.

It's hoped their designs will also win an argument -- that low-impact development doesn't come at a high price.

A kickoff party will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 6, at the AIA Gallery at the Pearl, 200 East Grayson St., Suite 110.

David Batts, chair of the Texas Land/Water Sustainability Forum, will present the rules for the competition and representatives of the three design competition properties will speak about their plans for their projects.

For more information, call Karen Bishop with SARA at 210-302-3642 or at 210-227-1373 ro visit sa-lid-kickoff-feb2013.eventbrite.com.


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