MEDIA ALERT – West Side Residents Unpaving the Way to Sustainable Living

WHAT: The Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) and students from the Mercy Home After School Center will install a native plant garden in the courtyard of an affordable multi-family apartment building in Austin, to utilize rainwater and bring green infrastructure to a space where concrete used to dominate and contribute to pollution and flooding problems.

WHEN: Wednesday, September 9, 2009 @ 3:00 – 6:00

WHERE: Mercy Housing Lakefront
4943 Quincy Street (Please use the courtyard entrance)
Chicago, IL 60644

WHY: The garden will serve as an important green infrastructure installation which will cool the otherwise paved over courtyard, replenish the groundwater supply and help keep stormwater from overloading the local sewer system and causing basement backup flooding. Native prairie plants help absorb and conserve water because their deep roots are adapted to our climate and rainfall, so can survive cycles of wet and dry weather more effectively than non-native plants. The rain garden will also be a valuable learning tool for the students.

The Mercy Home After School Center garden joins several other green infrastructure improvements completed in this project. Recently, CNT installed a super barrel at a Mercy Housing youth garden across the street. A super barrel is a 330-gallon repurposed industrial container that attaches to a building’s downspout, collecting and storing rain water from the roof for future use, holding six times the volume of a typical home rain barrel in 4 times the space.

Green infrastructure manages stormwater by capturing raindrops where they fall. It also supports urban sustainability and uses limited financial resources more efficiently by harnessing the natural filtering abilities of plants, trees and soil to protect water quality, reduce runoff volumes, and recharge groundwater supplies.

This project is made possible by the Cook County Green Affordable Housing project, funded by the Home Depot Foundation.

WHO: The Center for Neighborhood Technology, a Chicago-based nonprofit focused on urban sustainability, and Mercy Housing Lakefront, which acquires and develops program-enriched housing for low-income populations.

CONTACT: Steve Wise, Natural Resources Program Director, CNT, 773-269-4042,