Cook County Announces $20 Million Stormwater Management Project Implementation Program to Help Protect Communities from Flooding

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced $20 million in funding for the Stormwater Management Project Implementation Program at a press conference this afternoon. The initiative is led by the County’s Department of Transportation and Highways (DoTH). Funding for the program is provided through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and will advance 26 stormwater management projects throughout the County, with a focus on supporting under-resourced communities. 

DoTH worked with key partners, including the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) and the Cook County Department of Emergency Management and Regional Security (EMRS) to select the 26 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.” 

Projects included in the agreement will advance planning, preliminary engineering, design engineering and construction phase projects. MWRD will be the lead agency for 16 of the 26 proposed projects, while the County will either work directly with communities or in-house to implement the remaining projects. 

“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.”

Three of the municipalities receiving funding participated in today’s 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 J. 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. We hope to keep this great achievement going on this new endeavor,” 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 through 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.”

A full list of projects is available here.

Click here for B-roll of flooding in some of the communities receiving funds.

“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.”