The following are remarks from Stormwater coordinator Jason Kauffman during the unveiling of the storm drain art project.

Welcome everyone and thank you for joining us this evening as we officially unveil the 2019 Goshen Storm Drain Art Murals. We are very excited for everyone to see these amazing works of art.

The Storm Drain Art Project is an opportunity to celebrate Goshen’s beautiful water resources and look at ways that residents and visitors can work together to help protect them.

You may be wondering what a storm drain is and why it is important. The answer is each and every storm drain plays an important role in our city by draining rainwater and snowmelt to keep our roadways safe and prevent urban flooding. The role they serve became very clear this past weekend as roads began to flood after Saturday evening’s hailstorm caused many storm drains to become clogged with storm debris and trash.

Many, but not all, of the city’s storm drains flow directly to our local waterways, like the Elkhart River and Rock Run Creek, which means whatever falls or washes onto our roads can end up in a waterway with little to no treatment. This is called stormwater pollution. Stormwater Pollution is the only growing source of water pollution in our country today. It includes ordinary things like soil, trash, oil, grass clippings, fertilizers, pesticides, and pet waste, and when these pollutants enter local waterways they not only pollute the water but also make it difficult for fish and other aquatic wildlife to live or even breathe. Some pollutants can even pose a health hazard for humans as well.

Our theme this year was “Our rivers are a resource worth protecting” and we hope the combination of art and storm drains will help the public make the connection that what “we do on the land does affect our local waterways.”

I want to thank Mayor Stutsman and the members of the Goshen Stormwater Board (Mike Landis and Mitchell Day) for their support of this project. Thank you to the many artists who submitted proposals and to those who were selected to paint this year.

Please come forward when I call your name:  Rachel Weaver, Katelyn Pedler, Katelyn Conley, Rachel Neff, Holly Hathaway, the Day Program Participants at ADEC’s Gaining Grounds, Tavi & Dteban Mounsithiraj, Heather Potsander, Katarina Antal, and Jessica King.

This project would not have happened without your time and talents. Thank you to the members of the Selection Committee for helping to select these 10 artists.

Thank you to the many generous sponsors for your support of these amazing artists. Please come forward when I call your name: Mutual Bank, My Community My Water, Roger Miller State Farm Agent, Goshen Floral & Gift Shop, Maple City Health Care Center, Abonmarche, Goshen Floor Mart, Jeremy, Maija, Boden, & Pippin Stutsman, and Psi Iota Xi Sorority.

Thank you also to the city staff for your help in preparing each location so the artists could paint and for providing behind-the-scenes support. Thank you everyone.

To learn more about the Storm Drain Art Project pick up one of the brochures we have here with us this evening, scan the QR code by each mural with your smart phone’s camera, or visit our website where you can access a map with artist and sponsor information.

Again, thank you for coming and enjoy the rest of your evening.