The La Crosse Urban Stormwater Group will recognize Misty’s Dance Unlimited as winner of the 2018 “Soak it Up! Project” award at 2 p.m. Thursday, June 6, at the International Performing Arts Center, 923 12th Ave S., Onalaska.

The group also is seeking nominations for next year’s award to honor environment-friendly homes and small businesses.

Misty’s Dance Unlimited opened the 16,000-square-foot studio in 2018, and serves more than 800 dancers each week.

The building was designed to eliminate stormwater runoff from the property, instead draining directly into three rain gardens to restore groundwater.

The basins are filled with deep rooted native plants and trees that soak up that water and provide natural beauty to the setting, as well as a habitat for endangered species.

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“When I got the email that our new dance studio had received this award, I was really proud of the entire design team. ... My hat is off to the designers at the ISG and the team at Coulee Region Ecoscapes,” said Misty Lown, owner of Misty’s Dance Unlimited. “In addition to stormwater retention features, we have the beginnings of a food forest with raspberries, serviceberries and fruit trees, as well as a large variety of pollinator-friendly plants.”

Amy Smith of NewGround Inc. and the La Crosse Urban Stormwater Group, says other finalists included UU Fellowship of La Crosse, The Hub on Sixth and a private residence in Holmen owned by April Rossman.

The award honors those who reduce stormwater runoff on home, small business, and nonprofit properties in the La Crosse area.

“Reducing runoff is humble, long-term work,” said Smith. “The Soak it Up! Project not only includes the award, but also hands-on learning sites — Habitat ReStore and soon to be Hamilton Elementary — and various locations with permanent education signage.”

Nominations, as well as more information about managing runoff and how to complete individual projects, can be submitted and found at lacrosseareawaters.org.


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