It feels like somedays, we are building a town. The Plant is our playground. We are this really weird post cold-war industrial, sustainable, hippie, eco, mom and pop, local economy destination place that is off the beaten path. Folks show up and they look around in wonder and say “what is this place, and why didn’t I know about it before?”. It’s a cross between Willie Wonka and Mad Max. (If you have not seen either, I suggest you watch them both immediately and back to back in that binge kind of way!). That will give you a feel for what The Plant is and throw in a little Dr. Seuss. We did name the road Lorax Lane after all because we believe in saving some trees.
The hilarious part of this is that it has not been planned.
We bought the place to house Piedmont Biofuels back in 2005. From there, we started doing things that felt natural to us, like restoring the environment. The mosquitos were as big as drones and the place was NOT IN BALANCE. We put in plants and bushes that were native, thanks to Debbie Roos. We stopped using pesticides and herbicides. The birds and bees and amphibians and reptiles and bunnies returned in short order, thankfully. It was an incredible sight to see. We no longer got chased away by the HUGE BUGS.
Being social creatures, we held soccer nights for the parents losing their minds with little ones. Kids learned to ride their bikes on the roads because it was safe. Local food Fridays became a thing where everyone including the Mayor would show up for lunch. Music festivals happened, ceremonies for our beloveds who died and our beloveds that married were held on the grounds.
As we started to grow and transform into a commercial Chatham Beverage District, the town asked us to asphalt the parking places. We began attracting clientele that wore high heals, not the typical boots and tevas.
With the increasing extreme weather events, we decided the best, most sustainable and beautiful solution would be to add permeable pavers down the middle of Lorax Lane. This is an intense process of digging down 18 inches, adding drainage pipe and gravel. From there, red brick is laid in such a way that the storm water goes directly into the surface. This helps immensely with floodwater and storm runoff. Permeable pavers help return rainfall into the groundwater table and reduce the number of pollutants that get back into the water system.
We are grateful to receive a grant from NC Division of Soil and Water Conservation Community Assistance Program (CCAP). About 10% of the project is granted from this program to help improve water quality through the installation of various best management practices (BMP’s).
We are also grateful to our contractors: Ruston Paving, Fred Adams Paving, Summit Engineering and Stewart Engineering along with the Town of Pittsboro and Chatham County. We are all working together to make this project a huge success and a regional landmark.
Thank you for your patience as we dig things up, install pavers and asphalt, and create a more beautiful and dry world our hearts know is possible!