For immediate release
October 11, 2019
A partnership between the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) and Village of La Grange will yield more stormwater protection and heighten awareness for sustainable solutions to mitigate flooding.
Construction was recently completed on two parking lots located at 53 S. La Grange Rd. and 20 W. Harris Ave. in La Grange, using interlocking concrete permeable pavers that together retain nearly 95,000 gallons of stormwater per rain event. Built over soil and aggregate base and bedding layers, the pavers reduce stormwater runoff, clean and filter stormwater and improve water quality in addition to introducing a sparkling new amenity that improves the driving surface and attracts customers to local businesses.
“We commend the Village of La Grange for joining us in addressing record rain fall and promoting resiliency through these impressive green infrastructure installations,” said MWRD President Kari K. Steele. “Changing weather patterns pose a real threat to our way of life, and investing in more sustainable long-term solutions where possible is a trailblazing decision that will mark the way of the future and help us alleviate flooding concerns in urban environments.”
No stranger to innovative and sustainable construction practices, La Grange has a growing collection of permeable parking lots, following the 2013 construction of similar pavement at a commuter lot at Burlington Avenue and Brainard Avenue.
“The Village of La Grange appreciates the collaborative relationship that we have with the MWRD and are proud to be a recipient of the funding which allows us to further both the Village’s and MWRD’s environmental goals,” said Village President Tom Livingston.
The parking lots, totaling $498,000, come as a result of the MWRD’s Green Infrastructure Partnership Opportunity Program in which the MWRD annually calls for local municipalities and public agencies to submit project applications that utilize different forms of green infrastructure. Under terms of the agreement, the MWRD agreed to fund nearly $300,000 toward the project, with the village paying for engineering and the remainder of the construction costs and performing long-term maintenance.
“Permeable parking lots may go unnoticed most days or may have little human interaction other than the soles of our shoes and wheels of our tires, but these parking lots are accomplishing much more than you see on surface,” said MWRD Commissioner Cam Davis. “These lots represent mindful environmental planning that addresses climate change and prepares future generations for drier tomorrows. Let’s hope more communities take note.”
Green infrastructure performs as a stormwater management tool designed to capture water and allow it to infiltrate into the ground before it would otherwise enter the traditional conveyance system. These engineered installations store, infiltrate, and evaporate stormwater, thereby mimicking the natural water cycle. The project is expected to reduce local flooding in the area, and provide educational opportunities for local residents on the benefits of green infrastructure.
Officials with the MWRD and La Grange celebrated the new lot alongside the Village’s popular weekly farmer’s market, which the MWRD has also participated on occasion to distribute free oak tree saplings to promote other forms of green infrastructure, as part of the MWRD’s Restore the Canopy initiative to offset the loss of the tree population and absorb more stormwater.