The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) recently awarded the village of River Forest up to $75,000 in grant funding to construct a green alley between Gale and Keystone avenues, from Vine to Madison.

The village applied for the grant in May 2017 and, a year later at a village board meeting on May 14, trustees unanimously approved an intergovernmental agreement with MWRD  

“I compliment you guys on getting these grants, because it saves us money,” Trustee Tom Cargie said at the meeting. 

Nearly 50 other municipalities, townships and more applied for the grant through MWRD’s Green Infrastructure Program, which assists in the construction of sustainable stormwater runoff solutions. From Vine to Madison, between Gale and Keystone, the alley’s middle section will soon be paved with permeable pavers to help stop stormwater runoff. 

The total cost of the project is estimated at $150,000, with the village contributing at least $75,000 to build the project, according to the agreement. Officials from the MWRD have pledged to contribute 40.5 percent of cost of the project, but not more than $75,000. 

River Forest has already spent $7,000 on engineering, property acquisition and design costs, according to the agreement. It has now been sent to the MWRD Board of Commissioners for approval. 

Once approved, the village will the solicit bids and choose a firm to repave the 9,000- square-foot area. Building plans must be sent to the MWRD for approval and any suggestions the agency makes will be included in the final building plan. 

Once the alley is complete, it will be able to capture up to 26,490 gallons of stormwater per rain event. The project is intended to improve the look and driving surface of the alley, as well as provide stormwater storage to an area that experiences heavy flooding on rainy days.  

It will take about 45 days to construct the alley, and work should take place during the current fiscal year, which ends April 30, 2019. The village will be charged with maintaining the alley in the future. 

This isn’t the first time River Forest has received a grant for a green alley. In October 2013, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency awarded the village $484,169 to reconstruct five alleys with permeable pavers.

The alleys are located in the far northeast corner of the community, just south of North Avenue and west of Harlem Avenue. 

CONTACT: ntepper@wjinc.com

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