President Preckwinkle Joins Calumet Park Officials to Celebrate Completion of $2.4 Million Stormwater Management Project

Reconstruction project designed to reduce street residential home flooding

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle joined Calumet Park Mayor Ronald Denson and other officials today to celebrate the completion of a $2.4 million stormwater management reconstruction project in Calumet Park that will greatly reduce flooding, increase water quality and improve drainage.

“Cook County is proud to oversee a major overhaul of this corridor that will significantly reduce flooding issues—including in residents’ basements—and provide Calumet Park with the up-to-date stormwater-management system it deserves,” President Toni Preckwinkle said. “We’ve seen federal disaster declarations for two flooding events in the span of two months this year, showcasing just how critical projects like this one are to our community.”

Cook County’s Department of Planning and Development contributed close to $2 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) disaster recovery funds to the project. This funding is allocated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and assists areas that otherwise might not recover from disasters due to limited resources.

The County’s Department of Transportation and Highways contributed $172,000 in Invest in Cook funds for the project’s design engineering in 2018 and the County’s Department of Environment and Sustainability added $247,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds through the RainReady Green Infrastructure Implementation Program which launched in September 2022. This is the first RainReady project funded through ARPA funds.

“Today we celebrate the completion of the Winchester Avenue disaster recovery project," said Calumet Park Mayor Ronald Denson. "It has been a yeoman’s job with the cooperation of county, state and local officials. My thanks to President Toni Preckwinkle, State Representative Robert Rita, MWRD, CMAP, Robinson Engineering, my staff and elected officials at the Village of Calumet Park for all their hard work and dedication to this grant-funded project. This is the largest grant that the Village has received to date and we would not have been able to do anything without the grant money received.”

The improved corridor on Winchester Avenue from 124th Street to 127th Street now features bioswales in the west parkway, permeable pavers for parking on the east side of the street, permeable asphalt drive lanes, and a rain garden at the north end of Winchester Avenue. By managing nearly 186,000 gallons of stormwater per rain event, these improvements will provide neighborhood residents with much needed flood alleviation. Additionally, as part of the reconstruction project, storm and sanitary sewer systems were separated, and drainage structures were replaced. This completed project demonstrates how gray and green infrastructure elements can work in tandem to mitigate severe flooding in our communities.

To download B-roll of the completed project, as well as images of flooding that occurred before the project was undertaken, please click here.

About RainReady

RainReady utilizes green infrastructure program designed to bolster existing environments with nature-based solutions in preparation for continued climate-related events. It is an approach that looks at water management wholistically, creates a network of green space connectivity and reinforces or replicates ecosystem services.

In 2016, Cook County’s Department of Planning and Development used CDBG funds to partner with the Center for Neighborhood Technology to create RainReady plans for six communities in the Calumet Corridor (Blue Island, Calumet City, Calumet Park, Dolton, Riverdale and Robbins). The 2016 plans set these communities on a path toward greater resilience through improved stormwater management, sustainable economic development, and integrated planning.

Building upon the work of previous planning efforts, Cook County’s current ARPA-funded RainReady Green Infrastructure Implementation Program will apply $6 million to fund the selection, engineering, construction and maintenance of green infrastructure projects in the Calumet Corridor. These projects – which were prioritized during 2023 community steering committee meetings – will improve community climate resiliency and will help address inequities faced by residents due to repeated flood events.

The Winchester Avenue Reconstruction was the first project to receive funding from the ARPA-funded RainReady Green Infrastructure Implementation Program. Several additional projects are currently underway throughout the Calumet Corridor.