Spark-Y Urban Water Protection: Youth Empowerment and Community Engagement

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2023 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Clean Water Fund
Spark-Y: Youth Action Labs
Recipient Type
Local/Regional Government
In Progress
Start Date
October 2023
Activity Type
Counties Affected
Project Details

Spark-Y in collaboration with MWMO and its affiliated partners are planning to execute 3 River First projects that advance urban stormwater remediation goals while empowering youth, advancing workforce development, and drawing community attention through interactive art. In all cases project, partners have already signed on with a commitment to excellence in project function and aesthetics, including renowned water artist Besty Damon.
Installation A: Will execute stormwater mitigation at Eastside Neighborhood Services (ESNS), a local community partner with a charter high school. Total cost: $106,300 - $71,400 through BWSR; $34,900 provided as an in-kind match.
Installation B: Will be a water cistern installation at the Casket Arts Building, with water capture being treated through urban agriculture applications. Total cost: $68,150 - $63,200 through BWSR; $4,950 provided as an in-kind match.
Installation C: Will be a tree trench, curb gutter, and set of permeable pavers at Edison High School. Total cost: $125,265 - $115,365 through BWSR; $9,900 provided as an in-kind match.
Our community partners will engage in a collaborative process with each project seeing youth engaged from start to finish. Youth ?brainstormed? features will finalize the design, function, and experienced professional sub-contractors assist in the completion of the install to best in class status. Long term, the sites will be used for engagement, tours and a unique scavenger hunt type engagement to ?trace? water pathways. A grand opening event will celebrate the youth achievements, highlight its environmental benefits, and garner continued support for the additional retrofitting possibility in urban water control and design. Afterward, field trips, interactive art components, and educational engagement of the installations will be ongoing. 275 youth will be directly involved and 100+ community members, with continued engagement of at least 100 youth per year beyond the term of the grant.

Competitive Grant Making Body
Board Members and Qualifications
Advisory Group Members and Qualifications
Conflict of Interest Disclosed
Conflict of Interest Contact

Annie Felix-Gerth

Legal Citation / Subdivision
The Laws of Minnesota 2021 First Special Session, Ch 1, Article 2, Section 6 (n)
Appropriation Language

(n) $400,000 the first year and $600,000 the second year are for developing and implementing a water legacy grant program to expand partnerships for clean water.

2023 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Other Funds Leveraged
Direct expenses
Administration costs
Number of full time equivalents funded
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

30 Youth paid/trained in water resource management, 275+ directly engaged
Measurable, positive environmental impact on water protection as urban art installations and community education
Replicable designs for future installations

Source of Additional Funds


Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Organization Name
Spark-Y: Youth Action Labs
Street Address
681 17th Ave NE Unit 101
Zip Code
Administered By
Administered by

520 Lafayette Road North
St. Paul, MN 55155

651- 296-3767