MWRD formally awards Winnetka $2 million stormwater grant

After receiving a $2 million grant to help complete some of its stormwater projects, the Village of Winnetka will now proceed with work on its improvements to the northwest portion of the village.

The award came from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago thanks to June 18 legislation that allowed the disbursement of funds.

“This is a very significant grant award and we’re certainly thankful for them helping us with $2 million,” Greable said. “It will go a long way in our stormwater program.”

In 2013, the MWRD announced its intention to financially partner with municipal agencies in constructing local stormwater improvements, and solicited “shovel ready” projects for possible funding consideration.

Winnetka officials submitted several projects, with MWRD selecting the northwest project as a recipient of the grant.

The 170-acre drainage area north of Tower Road and bordered by Gordon Terrace on the east and the Skokie River to the west, currently drains into the Cook County Forest Preserve pond on the southeast corner of Tower Road and Forestway Drive. A flap gate will continue to drain the pond to the east diversion ditch, which flows into the Skokie River.

Proposed improvements include larger stormwater pipes underneath Tower Road to increase capacity and a new culvert, which will allow more stormwater to be stored in the Forest Preserve pond.

The grant will fund almost half of the $4.6 million project, which includes the design, construction, operation and maintenance of new storm sewers and berms around the pond.

“I believe we’re one of the first communities to get approved for the grand disbursement,” Village Manager Rob Bahan said. “[Future grants] are something we’re going to monitor and chase if there are funds available.”

Though the grant was awarded in June, the village and MWRD had to craft an intergovernmental agreement first, which was passed unanimously by Winnetka trustees at the Aug. 19 Village Council meeting. The MWRD Board of Commissioners approved the agreement Aug. 7.

“The MWRD staff, [Winnetka Village Attorney] Peter Friedman and the village staff have gone through several iterations of the intergovernmental agreement,” Village Engineer Steve Saunders said.

With the agreement approved by both parties, the village will now finalize bid documents, with hopes to provide an award recommendation to the Village Council in late September or early October.

Construction on the pond outlet, however, is expected to take place in late 2014, due to an 8-10 week order and fabrication time for the new culvert and box sections.

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