Wednesday, June 20, 2018 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
Featured image: An example of a green alley, this one in Los Angeles | The Trust for Public Land
The village of Maywood was recently selected to receive grant funding to resurface six alleys in the village with material that will more effectively capture stormwater runoff and reduce residential flooding and basement backups.
At a regular meeting on June 5, the Maywood Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve an intergovernmental agreement with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Greater Chicago, which awarded the grant.
Under the agreement, the reclamation district will cover 70 percent of the total cost, estimated at around $1.2 million, for resurfacing the six alleys, which include four alleys from 12th to 14th Avenues between Oak St. and Washington Blvd., and two alleys from 15th to 16th Avenues between Washington Blvd. and Warren Ave.
In order to secure the 70 percent share, which comes to around $841,000 of the total estimated cost of the project, the village would need to secure a 30 percent matching portion of the estimate project cost, or around $360,000.
The village would be required to return all of the funds provided by the district if the project is not completed in accordance with strict construction standards or within two years of the village awarding a construction contract for the project, unless the district approves an extension before the 2-year completion period expires.
In March, the village tapped Hancock Engineering to conduct preliminary design engineering services for the project, which, once its complete, is estimated to retain around 250,000 gallons of stormwater each time it rains.
According to a statement released earlier this year announcing the grant recipients, reclamation district officials said that the projects selected for the funds needed to meet a range of criteria, including being located in flood-prone areas and having a “high rate of ground infiltration in which stormwater is prevented from entering the local sewer system.”
Once the alley construction is complete, the village will be responsible for maintaining them.
According to the website of the city of Chicago, one of the other municipalities that received funding, green alleys feature a variety of characteristics that make for reduced flooding.
Those characteristics include permeable pavements like asphalt that allow water to filter through the pavement and into the ground rather than collecting on the surface, catch basins to capture water and funnel it into the ground, recyclable materials like tire rubber and surfaces that are lighter-colored in order to better reflect sunlight.
Green alleys can also include native and drought tolerant plants to soften the landscape and pedestrian-friendly features such as lights, signage and walk striping.
So far, the village hasn’t released a construction timeline. Village officials are required to provide the reclamation district with 30 days’ notice before advertising bids for the project. They’re also required to submit a construction schedule to the district.
“We have seen how the natural long-term benefits of green infrastructure can provide solutions to managing the stormwater that confronts our communities,” said Mariyana Spyropoulos, the reclamation district president, in the statement.
“Thank you to all of the communities that recognize the value of investing in green infrastructure and collaborating with us on these important projects,” she added.
The green alley improvements would be crucial in a town where bad alleys are a ubiquitous source of frustration for residents, particularly those on the south side of the village, where many alleys are made of gravel.
The village, already stretched thin financially, is often strapped for the revenue required for major alleyway improvements. Those alleys that do benefit from improvements are often in areas of town that are within TIF districts, which have funds that are specifically earmarked for capital improvements.
This year, the village will complete around $1.7 million worth of alley and roadway improvements within the Madison Street TIF district. VFP
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