For officials in Annapolis, Md., the story about the Annapolis & The Chesapeake Bay Visitor’s Center—known locally as Gotts Court—played out better than they could have imagined, thanks to two site tests administered by Mother Nature.
The story began with a poorly drained and badly worn asphalt parking lot that sometimes was inaccessible. The only entrance was through a parking garage, which was closed off when the garage became full. When visitors could get in, they were greeted with ankle-deep water in the summer and ice in the winter.
Landscape architect Shelley Rentsch, a partner in Annapolis Landscape Architects, addressed the problems. The entrance was reoriented for better access, and StormPave brick pavers from Pine Hall Brick, atop a base of graded aggregates (without fine particles), was specified. Runoff was directed underground to six rain gardens and an outflow pipe. Aesthetically, the deep red color of the pavers complements the surrounding neighborhood and its red brick buildings, some of which date back to colonial times.
Then came the tests. In 2010, Annapolis was hit with the remnants of Tropical Storm Nicole, which dropped slightly more than 9 in. of rainfall in a 24-hr. period. A year later, Hurricane Irene stopped by and left 5.54 in. of rain. Several days later, Tropical Storm Lee added another 8.11 in. of rain.
Through it all, the water hit the bricks, infiltrated the aggregate and watered the rain garden. Only a trickle came out of the outflow pipe. And in the winter, no ice formed.
According to Rentsch, the Pine Hall Brick pavers worked exactly as planned and absorbed a tremendous quantity of rainfall; she added, “With so many areas experiencing flooding, one can only imagine a more widespread use of this phenomenal product.”