Monday, March 18, 2019 || By Igor Studenkov || @maywoodnews
Featured image: An example of a green alley, this one in Los Angeles | The Trust for Public Land
During a regular meeting on March 11, the Broadview Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve an agreement with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago for a project that would help reduce flooding by installing green alleys in the village.
The alleys are designed to reduce flooding by ensuring that more water seeps into the ground instead of going into the sewer. The regular asphalt isn’t permeable. This means that, when it rains, the water stays on the surface, eventually draining into the sewer. With the green alleys, the pavement is permeable, so the water instead seeps into the ground. This means that less water stays on the surface and goes into the sewer, reducing the strain on the sewer system and reducing flooding in the process.
At least some of the costs of the project will be covered through a grant issued by the reclamation district through its green infrastructure program; however, it’s not clear how much funding Broadview is actually getting and how much would have to come from other sources.
In November 2018, Broadview contracted with Westchester-based Hancock Engineering to handle engineering and design work for the green alleys. Work on the alleys will start this year, village officials said.
According to village board documents, the project will include an alley running through the middle of the block between 23rd Avenue, Harvard Street, 22nd Avenue and Filmore Street; and the alley running through two blocks between 25th Avenue, Harvard Street, 24th Avenue and Roosevelt Road. The documents indicate that the alleys will also include sidewalks and alley garage aprons.
According to a statement released by the reclamation district on Feb. 27, the project is expected to benefit 73 homes, businesses and “other structures.” It doesn’t elaborate beyond that.
Since 2017, the reclamation district’s green infrastructure program has been giving out grants to help municipalities cover the costs of building green alleys and other infrastructure that reduces flooding. Last year, the village of Maywood received $1.2 million from the reclamation district to cover the costs of installing six green alleys in the village.
The reclamation district’s Feb. 27 statement pointed that 48 municipalities applied for the 2019 round of green infrastructure grants. Broadview was among 19 municipalities that the reclamation district selected to receive the funding.
According to the reclamation district’s 2019 budget, the district allocated a total of $34.5 million for the grants and other storm water improvements. In a public statement, Kari K. Steele, the reclamation district’s president, said that relatively inexpensive projects like this will go a long way.
“We have seen how the natural, long-term benefits of green infrastructure can provide cost-effective solutions to managing the storm water that confronts our communities,” she stated. “By leveraging our resources and investing in green infrastructure, we can better manage storm water and protect our water environment.” VFP
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