Climate Resiliency Planning

Service Information

Climate Resiliency Planning for Communities  

Cook County allocated nearly $16 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to support suburban municipalities in developing Climate Resiliency Plans and to fund initial implementation of those plans. On August 10, 2023, the County announced the five communities selected to participate including the Villages of Bellwood, Franklin Park, Justice, Lynwood and the City of Markham.

About Climate Resiliency 

Our climate is changing quickly and with those changes come events that can threaten Cook County residents, homes and businesses. More frequent and severe weather events like rainstorms can flood our communities, resulting in costly property damages and health concerns. Higher temperatures and drought can result in extreme heat and loss of life. The residents most impacted by climate change are those that have already faced environmental injustices and generations of disinvestment. Through this program, Cook County hopes to help communities prepare for these extreme events to prevent damage and losses, while maintaining the well-being and health of residents. Transforming infrastructure, implementing nature-based solutions and ensuring social structures are adaptable are imperative for resiliency, but the costs and time associated with planning and funding such measures can be a barrier to completion and success. 

Cook County’s Climate Resiliency Planning for Communities Program  

Cook County’s Department of Environment and Sustainability, together with a community-engagement and planning consultant, will support five municipalities in developing Climate Resiliency Plans and provide implementation funding that will set communities up to thrive in a changing climate. 

Phase I, 2023-2024: Through a community-driven planning and prioritization process, communities will set goals and identify projects to bolster resiliency.​ Planning consultants will use community input to develop individualized and detailed digital Climate Resiliency Plans. 

Phase II, 2024-2026: Funds will be available to implement projects including green infrastructure improvements, stormwater management and renewable energy installations. Projects will be selected based on the needs of each community, cost, feasibility, and timelines*. Phase II funds will only be available to communities that successfully complete Phase I of the program. 

*ARPA funds must be obligated by end of 2024 and spent by 2026.  

Planning Partners: Request for Proposals (RFP)

Cook County posted RFP 2323-03090-ARPA Climate Resiliency Planning for Communities Consulting Services on April 26, 2023. It closed May 24, 2023 at 10:00am CDT. Please direct all questions about the RFP to Cook County Office of Procurement. Geosyntec Consultants was selected as the planning partner. 

Eligibility for Participation 

To be considered for this opportunity, communities must: 

  • Be a municipality (city, village or township) located in suburban Cook County. Neighborhoods within the City of Chicago are not eligible for this opportunity. 
  • Not have an existing Climate Resiliency Plan, Adaptation Plan, Climate Action Plan or similar Plan, updated within the past six years. 
  • Demonstrate a need for technical assistance due to insufficient funding, staff capacity or other necessary resources. 
  • Commit to working with the County and designated consultant to host community feedback sessions, respond to information requests and actively participate in the Climate Resilience Planning process. 
  • Submit a complete application. (Application closed March 8, 2023 at 5 p.m.)

This opportunity is open to any community that meets the eligibility criteria above. However, priority consideration will be given to communities which rate higher on the Environmental Justice Index (EJI), as identified by the Center for Disease Control EJI tool

Informational Webinar 

An informational webinar about the program and application was held on Thursday, February 9, 2023 at 2 p.m. A recording of the webinar is posted here for those unable to participate.  

Key Dates: 

  • February 1, 2023 – Online application period opened.
  • February 9, 2023 – Virtual webinar for application assistance/information. 
  • March 1, 2023 – All questions submitted to DES and posted for applicant review. Questions received by March 1, 2023 are posted here for applicants to review. 
  • March 8, 2023 – Applications closed at 5 p.m. CST.
  • Summer 2023 – Program awardees announced. 

Application Evaluation 

Communities were selected through a competitive process which included evaluating written applications from 26 interested communities and conducting virtual interviews with seven applicants. Communities were also assessed based on indicators such as need for resources, tree canopy coverage, flooding risk and number of impervious surfaces. Five communities were selected to participate in the Climate Resiliency Planning for Communities program.

Questions

Email questions to environment@cookcountyil.gov.

Resources 

Cook County’s American Rescue Plan (ARP) At a Glance Cook County ARP & Racial Equity (engagecookcounty.com) 

Center for Disease Control (CDC) Environmental Justice Index Environmental Justice Index (EJI) (cdc.gov)