Cook County Selects Five Suburban Communities to Receive Climate Resiliency Planning Assistance
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced today the five communities selected to participate in the Climate Resiliency Planning for Communities Program spearheaded by the County’s Department of Environment and Sustainability (DES). This nearly $16 million program was announced earlier this year and will improve climate resiliency in the Villages of Bellwood, Franklin Park, Justice, Lynwood and the City of Markham over the next four years.
“Recent extreme weather events have again reminded us that the climate is changing quickly and communities must act now to be prepared. Resiliency plans help ensure residents and businesses can thrive in the face of these changes,” said President Preckwinkle. “The plans will be developed through engagement with residents and community leaders and designed with an equity lens to ensure the most vulnerable populations are not left behind.”
The Climate Resiliency Planning for Communities Program was available to suburban Cook County communities that do not have an existing Climate Resiliency Plan (or similar) updated within the past six years and require the technical assistance, funding or staff resources to create one. 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.
“There is a clear need for this work across Cook County, as demonstrated by the interest in applications. We’re thrilled to play a role in providing resources and expertise to support these five communities in building resiliency,” said DES Director and Chief Sustainability Officer Deborah Stone. “After the plans are completed, the department will work with local partners to support initial implementation through nature-based solutions and other resiliency measures in each of the communities.”
The first phase of the program includes a community-driven planning and prioritization process in which communities will set goals and identify projects to bolster resiliency. In the second phase, funds will be granted to implement portions of the plans for a variety of possible projects such as green infrastructure improvements, stormwater management and renewable energy installations.
The County is providing funding for the Climate Resiliency for Communities Program through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The County allocated over $100 million in ARPA funding to support a clean environment for all and to fight climate change.
For updates about this program, visit www.cookcountyil.gov/climateresiliency