A productive partnership between the village of Mount Prospect, River Trails Park District and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) has yielded another park transformation designed to address stormwater management and mitigate local flooding.
On August 31, MWRD President Kari K. Steele joined Mount Prospect Mayor Paul Wm. Hoefert, village trustees and River Trails Park District leadership to celebrate the completion of Aspen Trails park with a ribbon cutting at the park near Maya Lane and Aspen Drive. The new Aspen Trails park includes new playground and field amenities, and also 17 acre-feet of underground storage to accommodate an estimated 5.5 million gallons of water and improvements to associated relief sewers. The project was funded by Mount Prospect, River Trails Park District, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and MWRD. Watch the ceremony, prepared by the Village.
“We congratulate the River Trails Park District and the Park District Board of Commissioners and staff, thank the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for its contributions, and I applaud our Engineering Department for their hard work and commitment to this important project,” said MWRD President Steele. “This is an excellent example of intergovernmental collaboration and planning to make the most of our resources, make the most of our park facilities, make the most of our timing to accomplish multiple outcomes at once, and lastly, making the most of the surface area where we stand.”
Construction crews installed an underground detention system in the park, a new storm sewer under Aspen Drive, and restored curbs, sidewalks, driveways and parkways. As a result, this project will provide flood relief for approximately 100 structures and reduce the likelihood of overland flooding from local runoff within the Levee 37 interior drainage area, while also providing countless visitors fun experiences at their new park facilities at Aspen Trails Park.
The Aspen Trails project complements a similar stormwater management and park improvement partnership between the MWRD, Mount Prospect and River Trails Park District at Burning Bush Trails Park less than a mile south of Aspen Trails. The Burning Bush Trails Park project, completed in 2021, includes a detention basin and pipe connection to existing storm sewers to provide flood relief for 32 structures within the Levee 37 interior drainage area just west of the Des Plaines River.
“It has been a great experience working with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District as part of both the Aspen Trails and Burning Bush Trails Park water retention and park renewal projects,” said Bret Fahnstrom, executive director of the River Trails Park District. “The MWRD worked efficiently with the Village of Mount Prospect and the River Trails Park District in an effort to minimize the inconvenience or park inaccessibility as well and maximizing community impact.”
During rainy conditions, streets flooded and the River Trails parks in Mount Prospect near the Des Plaines River were often left muddy and inaccessible for play. Now new water infrastructure and park space amenities are in place to create attractive park spaces and manage increasing amounts of stormwater. Between Burning Bush Trails Park and Aspen Trails Park, the MWRD has agreed to contribute more than $4.1 million to complete these critically important projects, including $2.8 million at Aspen Trails.
In addition to the Aspen Trails and Burning Bush projects, the MWRD partnered locally on a streambank stabilization on McDonald Creek in the Woodland Trails Park in northeast Mount Prospect and entered into an IGA with the River Trails School District to provide funding for green infrastructure improvements at the River Trails Middle School in Mount Prospect.
“We appreciate the ongoing partnership between the Village of Mount Prospect and River Trails Park District, working to address stormwater management and improve the quality of life for residents and visitors to the park,” said MWRD Commissioner Eira L. Corral Sepúlveda. “Each square foot of the new Aspen Trails Park provides recreation but also serves as protection the next time it rains.”