Twin Cities first 'eco-mosque' hoping to solve flooding issue, bring community together

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A Minneapolis mosque plagued with flooding issues is getting a much-needed makeover.

Thanks to grant money from the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization and Hennepin County, the Masjid An-Nur mosque is set to become the first "eco-mosque" in the Twin Cities.

"Obviously, it's a place that's important to us, important to the community," said Imam Makram El-Amin, with the Masjid An-Nur Mosque.

The Masjid An-Nur mosque sits at the corner of Lyndale and 18th avenues.

"It's a growing community, very diverse community," Imam El-Amin said.

But Imam El-Amin admits not everything is ideal about this spot.

"Over the years we've spent thousands of dollars in repairs around flooding," he said. 

Even small fixes didn't help.

"We knew we had to do something substantial to change what was going on so thank goodness for good partners," Imam El-Amin said.

Enter the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization and Metro Blooms.

"We're pulling that water away from the building, but it needs to go somewhere," said Marcy Bean, project lead with the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization.

Bean and her team hope the multi-phased project will solve the drainage issues.

"We'll have a series of rain gardens that will be interconnected," Bean said.

The hope is by re-shaping the landscape, they will manage nearly 85 percent of one-inch rain events.

"The rain gardens capture the water and the water percolates through the soils and the plants take it up and it cleans the water as it goes down," Bean said. "We've seen that water move from the door to where we directed it to just by the little bit of grading that's already been done."

But this is about much more than just a water issue. It's about connecting people in north Minneapolis with new green space.

"It's also going to create some nice, natural, organic space for people to gather," Imam El-Amin said.

"It's a relatively small scale project from our perspective but it can reach so many people," Bean said.

Once the snow melts and the ground dries up, work is expected to wrap up this spring opening up a new eco-friendly concept for this community and all mosques in the Twin Cities.

For more information on the project, click here.