CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today joined students, parents and community leaders to highlight an upcoming school improvement project made possible through the Illinois Green Infrastructure Grant (IGIG) program. Ravenswood Elementary School was among 13 applicants that received funding from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to support projects that reduce the amount of pollution running into Illinois waterways from stormwater sources and reduce the risk of local flooding. The announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to protect our natural resources and ensure a clean and healthy environment for future generations.
“Schools are the heart of a community and this project will be a testament to what can be accomplished when people band together,” Governor Quinn said. “This project will not only improve Ravenswood Elementary School, it will also help students understand the importance of protecting our environment.”
This project will be a joint effort between Friends of Ravenswood School (FORS) and Chicago Public Schools (CPS), which will administer the $750,000 Illinois EPA IGIG grant and provide nearly $475,000 in matching funds. Teachers, parents and community members developed a master plan for the south playground. That plan included input from the community, families, Ravenswood students and the school’s art, drama, gym and pre-K teachers to reflect the arts integration focus of the school.
The project calls for more than 15,000 square feet of porous pavement with accompanying underground stormwater storage; almost 9,000 square feet of synthetic turf field that will also decrease runoff; more than 5,000 square feet of formerly asphalt playground converted into permeable, rubberized play areas; 5,000 square feet of rubberized running track with underground stormwater storage; 6,500 square feet of rain gardens placed throughout the retrofitted playground area; 4,000-gallon cisterns to collect rainwater to use for irrigation; downspouts to direct roof runoff to the rain gardens; and 27 new trees to provide shade and increase rainwater uptake, supplementing 16 existing trees.
“The IGIG program is a key environmental initiative of Governor Quinn’s administration and is facilitating hundreds of model green practices to prevent stormwater runoff pollution across our state in tandem with enthusiastic local governments,” Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Director Lisa Bonnett said. “The outstanding cooperation between parents and school officials on this project will benefit Ravenswood Elementary students for years to come.”
“I would like to thank Governor Quinn, Senate President Cullerton, Senator Steans and Representative Harris for their ‘all hands on deck’ approach for this incredible project at Ravenswood School,” 47th Ward Alderman Ameya Pawar said. “It’s amazing what can be accomplished when government, parents, students, and the larger community all partner together.”
2013 is the third year of IGIG and the program has previously awarded more than $9 million to 23 green infrastructure projects around Illinois. Included among the many improvements these projects have made are the installation of nearly 150 cisterns or rain barrels, 220 downspouts, 184 rain gardens, four green roofs, three urban wetlands and six acres of permeable pavement. For more information of about the Illinois Green Infrastructure Grant Program and how to apply, visit http://www.epa.state.il.us/water/financial-assistance/igig.html.