"Green Alleys" coming to River Forest thanks to state infrastructure grant

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By Community Editor

RIVER FOREST, Illinois – The Village of River Forest was awarded $484,169 in funds through the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) Illinois Green Infrastructure Grant (IGIG) program. IGIG supports projects that reduce the amount of pollution running into Illinois waterways from stormwater sources and reduce the risk of localized flooding.

The IGIG funds allow the Village to reconstruct 34,800 square feet of alley space within five alleys with permeable pavers, enabling an estimated 164,350 gallons of stormwater to infiltrate into the ground each year in lieu of the Village's sewer system. Equally important is the role these pavers will play in filtering pollutants from the water as it travels through the stone base.

Illinois State Representative Emanuel "Chris" Welch (7th District) was on hand at the Village's October 14 regular Board Meeting to present the Village with a check for the grant funds (photo attached). Representative Welch thanked Village President Adduci "for bringing this matter to my attention. I was happy to help her and the Village bring this project to fruition, and I look forward to collaboration on more projects in the future."

This isn't the Village's first IGIG application for this project. River Forest Public Works Director Phil Cotter learned about the grant through the IEPA and applied for it in 2011 and 2012.

Village President Cathy Adduci thanked staff for their persistence, saying, "Half the battle in securing grant funds is writing the application but the other half of the battle is getting someone to listen to us. Representative Chris Welch listened and understood the value of our project. We appreciate his efforts in helping the Village secure these funds."

The Village has worked diligently on various infrastructure improvements to reduce excess stormwater runoff. However, periods of intense rain combined with impervious land exceed the Village's capacity to limit stormwater entering its sewer system. "This project," Cotter says, "increases the amount of permeable land that will allow stormwater runoff to infiltrate into the ground and lessen the burden of the Village's sewer system during heavy rains."

Work will be performed in alleys in the far northeast corner of the community just south of North Avenue and west of Harlem Avenue. The timeline for construction is being finalized by staff and the State with the Village's local match budgeted for FY 13-14. The total cost of the project is $569,610 of which the Village of River Forest is contributing $85,441 (15% of total project costs).

For more information about the grant please contact Phil Cotter, Public Works Director, at (708) 714-3550

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