Governor Quinn came to Berwyn Saturday with good news for flooding mitigation efforts in Forest Park, as well as Berwyn and Westchester.
With three local mayors at his side, Quinn announced grants from the Illinois EPA Clean Water Initiative for each of those towns.
“We’ve got to do everything we can to deal with storm water management to deal with flooding, to reduce the problems that floods cause for us,” Quinn said.
“Were making these investments and there’s a competition for these grants,” Quinn said.
The Illinois Green Infrastructure grants are part of a program of state money called “Illinois Jobs Now.” The Park District of Forest Park also received money from this pot: a PARC grant for $2.5 million for the new Roos gymnasium and another $1 million.
Calling Forest Park a “very progressive town” Quinn praised the village’s decision to install LED bulbs in the village streetlamps.
Forest Park will receive a $526,325 state investment for permeable green alleys and downspout disconnections. Two alleys will be reconstructed with pervious materials, and downspouts on 80 homes will be disconnected from the storm sewer system, according to a press release. These will significantly reduce the volume of storm water runoff entering the combined sewers, the release said. The total project cost is $619,700.
“We believe in rain barrels; we believe in permeable alleys and rain gardens,” Quinn said. “It’s amazing what gets done when no one worries about who’s getting the credit and just gets the job done,” Quinn said.
In turn, Forest Park Mayor Anthony Calderone praised Quinn as governor.
“This is the best governor that I’ve seen in my 16 years as mayor of Forest Park,” Calderone said. “This is a man who puts words into action and gets things done.” Commissioner Rory Hoskins was also present at the event.
Berwyn received grants totaling $2.2 million, including reconstruction of eight permeable alleys, storm water-conserving streetscaping projects in the Depot District, and a residential downspout removal program to disconnect 500 downspouts from the sewer system.
Berwyn’s third and second wards near the Depot District experienced severe flooding over the summer, with residents complaining of three significant basement-filling sewer floods in 90 days.
Earlier in the week, Berwyn Mayor Bobby Lovero announced the village was issuing bonds for $1 million for household flooding remediation projects, refunded up to 50 percent, up to $3,500.
Westchester will construct four alleys, costing just over $500,000. The state investment will total $384,619 for the project.