Chicago’s $50 million Green Stormwater Infrastructure Strategy was announced in October 2013, and in late April, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Department of Water Management (DWM) issued a public report and announced the first projects to be funded under the strategy.
“Without green space to absorb rainfall, Chicago’s sewer system is forced to handle large volumes of stormwater, which often lead to flooding events that can damage homes and disrupt lives,” said Emanuel. “Incorporating green infrastructure into existing and ongoing capital projects will help to reduce flooding, protect the environment, and strengthen our neighborhoods.”
The Green Stormwater Infrastructure Strategy is one of the largest voluntary investments in green infrastructure by a U.S. city. Working with city agencies, DWM has identified opportunities to incorporate green infrastructure into existing and ongoing capital projects, including four schoolyard projects, five complete streets projects and 30 traffic calming projects. In sum, these 39 projects will receive $6.1 million in funding and will leverage nearly $18 million in additional funding from Chicago Public Schools, the Chicago Department of Transportation, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, and other partners.
Working with partners, DWM also will provide funding to the Space to Grow program, an initiative by Openlands and Healthy Schools Campaign to convert public school asphalt schoolyards into green playgrounds. DWM and the Chicago Department of Transportation also are collaborating to include green infrastructure in about 30 traffic calming bumpouts at locations throughout the city. They also will incorporate green infrastructure into five complete street projects this year, which will include infiltration planters, tree pits, permeable pavement and bioswale. Read more.