CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today announced investments at two Chicago-area schools for stormwater management projects. Audubon Elementary School in the Roscoe Village neighborhood and Alcott College Prep – East Campus in Chicago will receive Green Infrastructure Project investments totaling $1.5 million to assist in reducing flooding. Today’s announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to create jobs, drive the economy forward and protect the environment by modernizing Illinois’ water infrastructure.
“We need to ensure that our communities are protected from damaging flooding and that includes our schools,” Governor Quinn said. “These two projects will benefit the surrounding communities and also serve as an outdoor classroom to teach our young students how to live sustainably on our planet.”
“These projects are tremendous investments in the future of our schools and our environment,” Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) said. “Where better for students to learn about the best environmental practices than by experiencing them on their own school grounds? Education has been a priority throughout my career, and it’s been my privilege to work with local officials and the Audubon and Alcott communities to secure this funding so the students and devoted teachers and faculty at Alcott and Audubon can have the modern, efficient and environmentally safe facilities they deserve.”
“I am truly honored to join Governor Quinn and Senate President Cullerton in announcing the awarding of the Illinois Green Infrastructure Grant for Alcott and Audubon schools,” State Representative Ann Williams (D-Chicago) said. “I can't say enough about the hard work, commitment and dedication of the Audubon and Alcott communities – thanks to the amazing parents, faculty, staff and students for everything they have done to make this a reality. We are truly lucky to have such strong neighborhood schools in our community, and a Governor who strongly supports education and our environment.”
The Friends of Audubon will receive a $750,000 investment for the installation of green infrastructure practices for the Audubon Elementary School’s redevelopment of a deteriorating schoolyard and unsafe playground. The current impervious asphalt surfaces will be replaced, an underground stone infiltration system beneath a new artifical turf field will be installed and a permeable parking area and native vegetation demonstration garden will be constructed. The stormwater benefits will include:
- A reduction in the flow rate and volume of stormwater leaving the school grounds.
- A reduction of pollutants such as nitrogen and phosphorus.
- Creation of infiltration and storage capibilty that will allow stormwater flows to be directed into subsurface layers.
- Stormwater that cannot be infiltrated into the subsurface layers will be slowly released into the combined sewer overflows at reduced flow rates and after the peak wet weather event have passed.
“I am grateful for the leadership of Governor Quinn, Senate President John Cullerton and Representative Ann Williams for their steadfast commitment to public schools, parks and the community at-large,” Alderman Ameya Pawar (47th Ward) said. “As a result of their commitment, the long-standing vision of building a campus park at Audubon Elementary School will soon become a reality. In just under four years, they’ve directed over $12 million in state funds to parks and schools in the 47th Ward. Just as important, they’ve been incredible partners with my office as we work to build a neighborhood K-12 system in our community.”
Chicago Public Schools will receive a $750,000 investment for the implementation of green infrastructure systems that will retain approximately 1.7 million gallons per year of runoff on the 2.93 acre Alcott College Prep’s East Campus in Chicago. The Alcott College Prep’s East Campus green infrastructure systems will include a permeable rubberized playground area, permeable pavement area, permeable rubberized running track, synthetic turf field and natural trees and planting area. The goal is to increase the permeable surfaces from the current 35 percent of site surfaces to a total of 60 percent permeability of the site. The benefits include delaying the runoff from entering the associated waterways and the combined sewer systems, and improving overall water quality.
These green infrastructure projects will incorporate artwork from students and the community, and will function as outdoor classrooms with signs to inform the viewer about the project’s sustainable practices.
“The Alcott Field has been a dream long in the making, and the announcement of this grant makes me incredibly happy that we're one step closer to making the ‘Field of Dreams’ a reality for all our children,” Alderman Michele Smith (43rd Ward) said. “This is a perfect example of excellent coordination between elected officials on the state and local level and members of the local community, and thanks to the strong leadership and continued support of Governor Quinn, President Cullerton and Representative Williams we were able to achieve the full funding for this grant. I look forward to the completion of this long-awaited amenity to ensure the field becomes a place all members of the community can enjoy.”
The Illinois Green Infrastructure Grants are administered through the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) and are also part of Governor Quinn’s $31 billion Illinois Jobs Now! program. They fund projects that control or reduce rain-related urban flooding. Illinois Jobs Now! is the largest construction program in Illinois history, and is one of the largest construction programs in the nation, supporting more than 439,000 jobs over six years.
“These projects provide a real solution to stormwater management issues, especially in urban communities” said Illinois EPA Director Lisa Bonnett. “We are excited to partner with these schools, investing in the students and the communities, while exhibiting how green infrastructure improves our environment.”