Illinois Announces Picks for State Green Infrastructure Grant Program
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has announced the awardees for the state Green Infrastructure Grant program. Fourteen applicants will receive a portion of the nearly $5 million made available for the inaugural year of the program. Recipients include the City of Joliet ($820,000), the City of Danville ($750,000) and the Safer Pest Control Project ($73,280).
Grant winners will use the funding to install cost-effective, environmentally friendly systems to tackle flooding in basements and on streets. These systems, known as “green infrastructure” practices, include vegetative swales, permeable paving, green rooftops, trees and rain gardens, which capture the rain where it falls.
“This funding will provide the seed money needed for communities to test out green infrastructure and observe first-hand all the benefits it provides,” said Scott Bernstein, president of CNT. “The research shows that green infrastructure measures are as effective as conventional approaches in relieving flooding, and can be installed more cheaply and quickly. They also reduce the cost to municipalities of managing stormwater, improve air quality and increase home values. Cash-strapped municipalities should especially take a closer look at this strategy for managing water resources, given its much higher return on investment.”
More than 150 state and local units of government, nonprofit organizations, citizen and environmental groups, individuals and businesses applied to the program, requesting a total of $50 million. The outpouring of interest was particularly impressive considering the 25 percent funding match required of most applicants.