A Smart Sidewalk
The Cafe's original structure was built in the mid-1870's. Although lived in, worked at, and added onto, the building folks enjoy today is basically the same structure folks enjoyed at the turn of the century. Given its age and history, it has undergone periodic repairs and maintenance, and the sidewalk is no different. In 2015 the natural wear and tear of the sidewalk became too extreme and its replacement became necessary. However, when it came time to choose the sidewalk's surface we were struck by the concept of permeability. Many variations of this concept were/are available and being fine-tuned, but at the core of things permeability sought to:
1. Be a stormwater management solution that functions as a pavement and does not take up costly extra space.
2. Reduce harmful runoff.
3. Naturally filter out pollutants (nitrates, phosphorous, oil, grease, etc.) and cool the water as it infiltrates the system.
4. Provide the same durability and strength as the traditional Interlocking concrete pavements (ICP).
5. Not frost, heave or crack.
6. Reduce ice formation on the pavement in cold climates.
7. Ease the maintain of infiltration rate over time.
8. Be a LID and BMP tool.
In The Western Cafe's on-going spirit of stewardship we ultimately chose to replace our walkway with permeable pavers. Come by sometime, and after enjoying coffee and a home cooked meal check out our smart sidewalk. Not only does it hearken back to the days when the tradition of The Western Cafe first began, but it also hearkens to the future days of community efforts to preserve our beautiful state and its waterways.