MWRD, Cook County partners announce $20 million investment toward stormwater management projects

News & Events | June 26th, 2024

(From L to R): Schiller Park Mayor Nick Caiafa, Crestwood Mayor Ken Klein, Cook County Commissioner Maggie Trevor (9th Dist.), MWRD Commissioner Dan Pogorzelski, Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways Superintendent Jennifer “Sis” Killen, Maine Township Supervisor Karen Dimond, MWRD Commissioner Mariyana Spyropoulos, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, MWRD President Kari K. Steele, MWRD Vice President Patricia Theresa Flynn, MWRD Commissioner Yumeka Brown, MWRD Commissioner Precious Brady-Davis, MWRD Director of Maintenance and Operations John Murray, MWRD Commissioner Eira L. Corral Sepúlveda, and Cook County Commissioner Tara Stamps (1st Dist.)

Following a weekend of heavy rains, leaders for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) and Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways (DoTH) announced new relief in sight to better manage future stormwater and the unpredictable and unsettling nature of climate change.

MWRD President Kari K. Steele and commissioners joined Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County commissioners and municipal and township leaders at the MWRD on Monday to unveil plans to fund $20 million toward 26 stormwater management projects aimed at bolstering resiliency across Cook County, with special emphasis on underserved communities. This effort, funded through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), includes support for 16 critical projects led by the MWRD.

“We thank President Preckwinkle, the Cook County Board of Commissioners and the County’s Department of Transportation and Highways for their support in building resilience throughout Cook County,” said MWRD President Kari K. Steele. “This critical funding will help us complete more stormwater management projects throughout Cook County, especially in disproportionately impacted areas deserving of our support.”

DoTH worked with key partners, including the MWRD and the Cook County Department of Emergency Management and Regional Security (EMRS) to select the projects from previously unfunded/underfunded MWRD Stormwater Partnership applications, the Cook County Hazard Mitigation Plan priorities and other known locations where funding is critical to moving projects forward.

“This initiative reflects the mission, vision and values set forth in Cook County’s Policy Roadmap, which served as the guide for how the County’s ARPA allocation should be invested,” said President Preckwinkle. “Climate change will only exacerbate flooding across the County. This is especially true in communities with historic disinvestment which were disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. This program is one of many steps the County is taking to increase climate resiliency.”

The $20 million ARPA allocation, authorized by the MWRD Board of Commissioners and Cook County, will support various stages of project development, including planning, engineering, and construction.

The MWRD and the county proceeded to identify 16 stormwater projects following a rigorous evaluation process, prioritizing areas with significant flooding risks and infrastructure needs. MWRD project sites include Bedford Park, Burbank and Oak Lawn, Crestwood, Dixmoor, Dolton, Forest View, Glenwood and Bloom Township, Harvey, La Grange Highlands, Lyons and McCook, Lyons Township, Maine Township and Park Ridge, Midlothian and Bremen Township, Northfield Township, Orland Township, Schiller Park, and South Holland.

Three of the communities receiving funding participated in the press conference. Maine Township received $1.5 million for a flood control project to address regional flooding, including residential structure flooding.

“A project like this has involved a great deal of work and collaboration between many local, County, state and federal officials and entities,” said Maine Township Supervisor Karen Dimond and Highway Commissioner Ed Beauvais. “We are both very grateful to all involved for their work to bring about the flood relief to Maine Township and our area residents. We have listened to our residents’ concerns, and we are very pleased to see this flood relief project moving forward.”

The Villages of Crestwood and Midlothian along with Bremen Township received $1.5 million to replace existing culverts, make channel improvements, and expand existing and construct new detention facilities to address local flooding.

“The Village of Crestwood and MWRD have worked together on several projects which have taken over 250 residents out of a flood plain,” said Crestwood Mayor Ken Klein. “We are thankful to have such a wonderful partnership with MWRD and Cook County to build stormwater resiliency.”

The Village of Schiller Park received $500,000 for the extension of storm sewers to remove stormwater runoff from the existing overburdened combined sewer that serves the impacted roadways and direct it to an existing storm sewer to reduce residential structure flooding.

“The Village of Schiller Park would like to thank the MWRD for agreeing to partner with us on flood control and Cook County for committing ARPA funds to further help fund the project,” said Schiller Park Mayor Nick Caiafa. “With the design engineering already completed and the mitigation greatly needed, these projects were paused until they could be funded. Since MWRD engineers were already engaged in projects with the Village engineers, we requested a partnership. And today, thanks to their vision for this project, the Schiller Park drainage improvements are moving forward and more of our residents and businesses will see flood relief.”

“Developing a ‘pipeline’ of projects at different phases, positions projects for future potential funding opportunities,” said DoTH Superintendent Jennifer “Sis” Killen. “This program represents the priorities in our Long-Range Transportation Plan, Connecting Cook County.

The ARPA funds are expected to be fully obligated by December 2024 with project completions anticipated by November 2026.

A full list of projects is available here.

Click here for a video of the announcement and read the County’s press release here.

https://mwrd.org/news/mwrd-cook-county-partners-announce-20-million-investment-toward-stormwater-management-projects

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