Green Infrastructure grant to help pay for additional Fox Pointe parking

Up to $250,000 to be awarded by MWRD

by Melanie Jongsma

LANSING, Ill. (January 21, 2019) – “Whenever we have an opportunity to leverage some dollars from either our county or the national level,” said Village Administrator Dan Podgorski at last week’s Committee of the Whole meeting, “we try to do so.” He reported that a project submitted by the Village of Lansing has been awarded a Green Infrastructure Project grant from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, so they will cover 58 percent of the cost, up to $250,000.

The chosen project is one that Village Engineer Jeff Pintar, from Robinson Engineering, suggested last summer—a new parking lot that will be installed between Washington Street and the Clock Tower Plaza. The project is considered “green” because the lot will use permeable pavement and bioswales to collect stormwater and nourish the surrounding landscape, rather than creating an additional source of runoff into overloaded sewer systems.

The parking area between Washington Street and the Clock Tower Plaza has been selected as a Green Infrastructure Project. The view here is from Washington Street, looking west, with Winterhoff Park in the background. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma, January 21, 2019)
Autumn Fest 2018
Fox Pointe was constructed with bioswales as well, and the rainy weather during Autumn Fest 2018 provided plenty of opportunity to see them in action. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma, October 6, 2018)

Sewage, stormwater, and parking

Pintar makes an annual presentation to the Village Board about stormwater management, reminding officials and the public that Lansing uses a combined sewer system that diverts both sewer water and stormwater to MWRD’s treatment facilities. On its own, stormwater does not need to be treated, so combining it with sewer water, puts unnecessary burden on treatment facilities. In addition, when the sewers themselves are overburdened during a storm event, sewer water can back up into residents’ homes.

Pintar described the Washington Street parking lot project as a win-win for MWRD and the Village of Lansing. “This project will take a good area where this parking lot will be constructed, and all of the stormwater will be trapped and contained onsite through green infrastructure,” he explained at the meeting. “It will take the stormwater and let it infiltrate into the ground and not go into the sewer system.” A typical storm event produces 98,200 gallons of stormwater in an area this size, so a green parking lot can prevent that much stormwater from entering the sewers.

Plus, the new lot will provide 70–80 parking spaces for Fox Pointe patrons.

The education element

Lansing’s project was one of 20 that were selected from 48 applications submitted. Pintar believes one of the elements that made our project appealing was the educational component. The MWRD will work with the Village to create signage that will explain what green infrastructure is. Because the parking lot will serve potentially thousands of Lansing residents and out-of-town guests throughout the year, that message will reach a lot of people.

The Board has three weeks to review and consider the intergovernmental agreement required by the grant, and it will be on the agenda for a vote at the February 5 Village Board meeting. If approved, plans for the proposed parking lot will be drawn up, and the project can go out for bids.

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