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Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

Public entities encouraged to apply for green infrastructure assistance now through Sept. 6.

A new sustainable outdoor plaza on campus at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) has created an inviting space to welcome students back for a new school year, while also drawing in stormwater to help reduce flooding and instill an education on the importance of green infrastructure.

Thanks to funding from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD)through its Green Infrastructure Partnership Opportunity Program, the new Arthington Mall Plaza outside UIC’s Student Center West, near 828 S. Wolcott Ave., offers UIC health sciences students a vibrant, attractive and resilient outdoor meeting place.

“We were proud to participate on this campus renovation to display an impressive form of green infrastructure that shelters UIC from flooding and educates students and faculty on the importance of green infrastructure,” said MWRD Commissioner Kimberly Du Buclet. “UIC is a world class university, and where better to learn how to plan our communities for a changing climate than right here with the best minds in science.”

The mall features 37,000 square feet of permeable pavement and rain gardens alongside a captivating sculpture by Ted Sitting Crow Garner. The local artist, UIC alumnus, and member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe entitled his sculpture “Tussle” to inspire the UIC community. These green infrastructure amenities run for nearly two entire city blocks with a permeable parking lot, new LED lighting, seating areas and rain gardens packed with native plants and monarchs and other pollinators thriving under 24 mature, healthy honey-locust trees. Arthington Mall will be the first SITES certified university space in Illinois.

The Arthington Mall project was selected during the MWRD’s 2017 Green Infrastructure Call for Projects. The MWRD contributed $242,000 towards the green infrastructure pieces of the project which provide a total design retention capacity of 228,311 gallons per rain event.

“The MWRD funding helped make the UIC Arthington Mall green infrastructure project possible. It created a dynamic, attractive, educational space that benefits the environment by providing resilient infrastructure that retains water, creates pollinator habitats, and conserves energy,” said Cynthia Klein-Banai, assistant vice-chancellor and director of sustainability at the UIC Office of Planning, Sustainability, and Project Management.

The MWRD is now accepting applications for its 2021 call for green infrastructure projects through Sept. 6. Public entities, such as municipalities, townships, county agencies, park districts, school districts and other local government organizations are eligible to apply. To learn more, visit Since 2017, the MWRD has completed or is planning to complete 60 green infrastructure projects throughout Cook County, with 21 projects on schedule for completion this year.

“We are receiving more intense outbursts of rain, causing serious flooding and new challenges and every inch of permeable space is important,” said MWRD President Kari K. Steele. “The MWRD is committed to further investment in stormwater management projects and green infrastructure throughout Cook County, and we commend UIC for their dedication to sustainability and protecting our water environment. We encourage other universities, local municipalities and public agencies to consider applying for green infrastructure funding from the MWRD.”

Learn more about the Arthington Mall project.

21_08xx_Arthington Mall UIC.pdf

Press Release

Established in 1889, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) is an award-winning, special purpose government agency responsible for wastewater treatment and stormwater management in Cook County, Illinois.


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